The Premacy has head-protecting airbags to reduce the worst risks in a side impact. But they did not safeguard as intended and the driver’s head struck the pole very hard in two tests. Mazda says it is is working to solve the problem.
The Premacy did well in pedestrian tests, however. It achieved a three-star rating.
The restraint systems worked reasonably, protecting the front occupants’ heads and necks. But high loads reached the driver’s and passenger’s chests.
The driver’s legs were also at risk and the footwell ruptured, presenting a hazard for his feet. Testers noted that hard points under the facia could cause injuries in a frontal impact.
The front belts were fitted with pre-tensioners that help to prevent the driver and front passenger from moving forwards. Finally, the centre rear seat has a three-point belt, which provides better protection than a lap belt would.
Despite the side airbag, the driver risked chest and abdominal injuries, but these were unlikely to be severe. But in the pole test his head hit the pole hard enough to risk serious injury or even death.
A small pad in the door aligned with the seat when set for an average-sized driver. This raised doubts about protection given to much bigger or smaller drivers. Mazda believes its design is robust but could not offer objective evidence to support its claim.
The rear outboard seat belts were adapted to tighten around a child restraint. The restraints chosen by Mazda were forward-facing universal Römer Princes, which did not work well for the 3-year-old.
When using the Romer Prince restraint, the passenger airbag deactivates automatically. But this does not happen if any other is used. Warnings of the consequent dangers were posted on the end of the facia and (in two languages) on the driver’s sun visor. Neither mentioned the risks involved.
This is the second car ever to gain three stars in this part of the test — the Daihatsu Sirion was the first. The Premacy’s front is more ‘friendly’ to pedestrians.