The entire range of smart scored the highest possible rating of occupant protection from whiplash, it was announced today, proving size is no barrier to car safety.

Road safety experts, Thatcham, issued their annual ratings for head protection in cars. The results showed that of the six smart models tested, each was awarded the highest rating of “good”.

More than 400 new vehicles were put through stringent tests and each head restraint was classified into four zones: “good”, “acceptable”, “marginal” and “poor”, according to the height and backset of the headrest.

Head restraints classified as “good” are high enough to protect taller occupants as well as people of average height.  They also have smaller backsets, which benefit occupants of all heights.

A spokesman for Thatcham said: “Whiplash is the most common injury in car accidents.  Of the 200,000 motorists hurt each year in rear end shunts, 2,000 end up with permanent pain or even disability because of this debilitating injury.  It’s encouraging that small cars, like smart, can provide such good occupant protection.”

Jeremy Simpson, Head of smart in the UK, said: “Driver and occupant safety are major factors in the design and build quality of all smart models.  This independent analysis by safety experts underlines the fact that in the case of smart, size is no barrier to occupant protection.”

All smart models have seats fitted with steel plates in the backrests and high strength anchors.  Standard safety equipment across the range includes seat belt tensioners and belt force limiters, driver and passenger airbag, TRIDION safety cell, the electronic traction control and stability system (ESP), Brake Assist, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD).

The smart range starts from £6,560 on the road and customers can find out more about smart by logging onto or calling the freephone number
0808 000 8080.

Editor’s Notes:

  1. Two measurements were taken.  The height from the top of an average size head to the top of the head restraint.  The ideal head restraint should be no more than 6 cm below the head.  The backrest, or distance from the back of the head to the front of the restraint was also taken into account. 

  2. Thatcham is a world leader in vehicle security testing, safety research on whiplash and crash repair standards.

  3. smart has been on sale in the UK since October 2000 and in Europe since 1998.  The full range of cars consists of the revolutionary city-coupé and cabrio and the compact and curvaceous roadster and roadster-coupé.  The first smart with four seats, the forfour, is launched in 2004.

This release together with smart pictures can be downloaded at