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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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