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Toyota mini and medium Mazda score five stars

Crunch time: The Mazda6 is put to the test by Euro NCAP.

Top marks for Toyota iQ and Mazda6 in Euro NCAP safety tests

20 Feb 2009

THE world’s smallest four-seat production car and the European version of one of the best-selling medium cars in Australia both have scored the maximum five-star safety rating in the latest European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests.

The tiny Toyota iQ city car – which is under consideration for Australia – and the current-generation Mazda6 both ticked most of the boxes in the new-look test which now awards a single safety rating based on scores in four areas of assessment – adult protection, child protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist.

The sub-Yaris Toyota iQ scored an amazing 91 per cent adult protection rating. Only the ratings for whiplash and side pole-crash protection were called into question, being rated as “marginal”.

Overall, however, the proliferation of nine airbags – including a rear-window airbag to protect rear-seat passengers and under-dash airbags to protect the legs – combined with good body engineering to protect adults in all positions.

22 center imageFrom top: Mazda6 and Toyota iQ.

Child protection was 71 per cent, and pedestrian protection weakest of all at 54 per cent.

The 1.0-litre iQ was launched at last year’s Paris motor show to compete with the Fiat 500, Subaru R1 and Smart Fortwo.

Engineered from the outset to meet the NCAP five-star rating, it was designed at Toyota Europe Design Development in Nice, France.

Last October, Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive director David Buttner told GoAuto that he was interested in the iQ as a sub-Yaris entrant if it was available and at the right price, which would have to be below the Yaris.

The five-star Mazda6, on the other hand, is already available in Australia in similar spec to the right-hand-drive hatch that was tested in Euro NCAP.

The previous generation Mazda6 was rated four-star by NCAP, but the new body design and an array of extra safety features, including ESC and six airbags, elevated the second-generation Mazda6 to full marks.

The Mazda6 – the second-best selling medium car after the locally made Toyota Camry in Australia last year – scored an adult protection rating of 77 per cent after losing points for knee protection in the front crash test, and also chest protection in the side impact pole test (“poor”).

Like the iQ, whiplash was also a concern, as was pedestrian protection (49 per cent).

However, the Mazda6 made up ground in children protection (81 per cent) and safety assist (71 per cent), to score an overall five-star rating.

The results have yet to be verified by Australasian NCAP, which will assess if the results can translate to the Australian model.

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