The common assumption that small cars offer the worst crash protection is one that refuses to go away. The logic goes that the less metal there is between you and whatever you're about to hit, the more likely you'll sustain serious injury.The smaller the car, the bigger the trauma.
However, Toyota's tiny iQ city car has gone against convention and passed the rigorous Euro NCAP crash testing program with five stars - the best rating possible.
Still, it's a relative thing. Hurl the iQ into a pole and you'll likely still be worse off than if you were in something larger, but the NCAP rating at least shows that the humble iQ is one of the safest vehicles in its category.
ESP is fitted as standard to European-market iQs, as are seatbelt reminders for both front and rear seat passengers, giving the diminutive microcar an 86 percent safety assist score. The iQ also scored 91 percent for adult passenger protection, 71 percent for child passenger protection (largely due to a faulty pre-production anchorage point part which broke during the test) and 54 percent for pedestrian protection.
Torso protection in a side impact was assessed as being marginal however, as was the iQ's whiplash protection. Sometimes the laws of physics won't be bent by any amount of techno-wizardry, and when you're in something as small as an iQ there's often not all that much space between you and the outside world.
It's a pleasing result for Toyota; the iQ is looking more interesting the more we hear about it.