Toyota's new iQ compact car is expected to score high safety ratings

Toyota's new iQ compact car is expected to score high safety ratings

Since its humble beginnings as an optional feature on cars in the 1970s, the airbag has become a must-have safety feature for any new car on the market. The development of curtain airbags have also increased the number of airbags in new cars to eight – or more – however Toyota is developing yet another implementation for them to be fitted to the rear windows.

The airbag is stored in the roof lining above the rear window and ejects similarly to a curtain airbag to protects the heads of passengers in the event of a rear-end collision. Together with the headrests, the airbag minimizes impact to the head from a colliding vehicle or parts of the hit vehicle, thus helping to reduce the severity of injuries.

Rear window airbag works similarly to side-curtain airbags common on many cars today

Rear window airbag works similarly to side-curtain airbags common on many cars today

The brand new iQ compact car is Toyota’s answer to the Smart ForTwo and is expected to sell 100,000 units annually. One of the major stumbling blocks with the introduction of the ForTwo was convincing consumers that it was safe and Mercedes has repeatedly demonstrated that the ForTwo’s safety cell is unmatched in the small car category. Toyota officials have publicly stated that the iQ will be a five-star Euro NCAP rated car.

Unlike the two-seater Smart car, the iQ will fit three adults and one small child. The expected European on-sale date will be early next year however the company is also considering bringing it to the U.S. if fuel prices remain high.