• Mar 22, 2011
2011 Mazda3 Top Safety Pick – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Insurance Istitute for Highway Safety has awarded the 2011 Mazda3 its coveted Top Safety Pick award. Both the 3 hatchback and sedan received "good" ratings when put up against the IIHS's roof crush machine, which applies constant pressure to the roof of the car. To earn a "good" rating, the car's roof has to withstand pressure equal to four times the car's weight before being compressed five inches.

The Mazda3 sedan's roof withstood a force equal to 5.32 times its weight, while the hatchback gave up at 5.09 times its weight. The federal requirement for rollover tests is 1.5 times a car's weight.

The 2011 Mazda3 sedan also earned a "good" rating in a 31-mile per hour simulated impact with a truck or SUV. Thanks to side curtain air bags and seat bolster air bags, the dummies' heads were kept safe. Despite the hard hit, there was limited intrusion into the passenger compartment.

The Top Safety Pick award only applies to Mazda3s made after December, 2010 for the 2011 model year. For 2011, Mazda added electronic stability control as standard, a requirement for the award, and strengthened the car's roof structure.

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]
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Mazda 3 earns 2011 TOP SAFETY PICK award

After earning the top rating of good for roof strength in rollover crashes, the 2011 Mazda 3 sedan/hatchback qualifies as a TOP SAFETY PICK among small cars. The 3 previously earned good ratings for front, side, and rear crash protection.

It is the first Mazda to be designated a TOP SAFETY PICK since the Institute made the criteria to win more stringent by including a requirement for a good rating in the roof strength test. Two tests were conducted in order to rate both the 4-door sedan and hatchback versions. The roof of the sedan withstood a force equal to 5.32 times the car's weight. The roof of the hatchback withstood a force equal to 5.09 times its weight. Vehicles with a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 or higher earn a good rating in the Institute's test. By comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight.

The award only applies to 3s built after December 2010 because Mazda made changes to the roof structure to improve roof strength.

In addition to good crash test ratings, winners must have electronic stability control (ESC), an important crash-avoidance feature, which became standard on the 3 for the 2011 model year.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      How did they figure 31 mph? Why not 30? or 35?

      It seems like a really strange number to pick...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Maybe 31 mph because it's equal to 50 km/h? It's close enough to 30 and it makes it applicable everywhere in the world.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So...if you are in an accident in a Mazda3, make sure it is in an IIHS facility.
      • 3 Years Ago
      'The gaping maw of safety.'
      • 3 Years Ago
      When will they get rid of the smileys...
      the new concept small SUV rom geneva rocked!
        • 3 Years Ago
        I've never seen a car so happy to be chruched.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good to know since I just bought the hatch. The smile actually grows on you after a bit.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Makes it easy to find in a parking lot.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I pretty much wrapped my Mazdaspeed3 around a tree, walked away with out a scratch.

      reminder to everyone: change your tires...they will not grip well on sharp turns.
      oh, and know your cars' limits.
      and your own.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I used to have a 04 Mazda 3 and it saved my life! I was going 60 on the highway and I hydroplaned and I hit a cement wall along the highway. I was ok but the car was not
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