The Mazda CX-5 Is a Very Safe Choice Among Small SUVs, Based on New Side-Impact Crash Test

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Hannah DeWitt
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 4 min read
As the
quality of car tech
and engineering continues to improve, so do vehicle safety standards. The
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
(IIHS) has decided to raise its standards for side-crash testing starting with small SUVs, something that’s been in the works since 2018.
The results exposed a serious need for updates in the side integrity of many of the tested vehicles—aside from one.
Consumer Reports
(CR) revealed that the 2021 Mazda CX-5, a highly-rated compact SUV, was the only one of the 20 vehicles tested to earn a top-tier “Good” rating from the IIHS.
Even without this impressive rating, the CX-5 was already known for being a reliable, quality choice for a compact SUV. With excellent scores and ratings from both the IIHS and
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) as well as Consumer Reports, this further asserts the CX-5’s high levels of safety.
The Mazda CX-5 is a safe and reliable compact SUV.

How did the IIHS change its crash tests?

The new round of crash testing performed by the IIHS involved 20 different small
SUV models
from across different brands. The original set-up of their side-crash test, in place since 2003, involved using a 3,300-pound barrier moving at 31 mph to strike the side of the vehicle.
Now, the size and speed of the barrier have increased, and the IIHS uses a 4,180-pound barrier moving at 37 mph. This increase is meant to test the impact of a midsize SUV or truck to better prepare cars for more powerful crashes. Each car is given a score of either Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor.
Though every vehicle tested had received a Good rating in the previous test, only the Mazda CX-5 earned it again with the new test. The Honda HR-V and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross were on the other end of things as the only two to get a Poor rating, the lowest one available. The rest were pretty evenly mixed between the two middle categories, Acceptable and Marginal.

Consumer Reports recommends the 2021 Mazda CX-5

CR gave the 2021 CX-5 a score of 83 out of 100, and also listed it as one of their recommended vehicles. CR factors safety into their scoring but doesn’t provide a separate safety score. Instead, they list the standard and optional safety features for the vehicle and compile safety ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA.
The 2021 Mazda CX-5 was rated Good by the IIHS in the six main crash testing categories. NHTSA gave the car an overall score based on ratings from 10 subcategories. Each one falls under four main areas of testing: frontal crash, side-barrier crash, side-pole crash, and rollover resistance.
The CX-5 received five stars overall and in eight of the subcategories. It earned four stars in the two-wheel and four-wheel drive rollover tests. All 13 of the safety features listed on CR come standard in the 2021 model, maximizing the safety of the CX-5.

Why did the IIHS want to improve vehicle safety standards?

The IIHS has made a point to improve vehicle safety in this sector in order to decrease the percentage of car passenger deaths coming from side-impact crashes, which is substantial at 23%. They’ve stated that they are looking to add the updated test to the list of criteria for the IIHS Top Safety Pick award once more vehicles have been tested.
Any car looking to earn this award will eventually have to earn a Good rating in the testing to qualify. CR may also be implementing the updated testing in their scoring, again, once more cars are tested.
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