19 other SUVs struggled with the stricter test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is notoriously strict when it comes to crash safety. That's why it's high praise for Mazda that the authority has declared the Mazda CX-5 as the only vehicle out of 20 small SUVs to earn its top “Good” rating in a new, stricter side crash test. This bodes well for Mazda's next-generation SUVs.

The new side-impact test uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed. The new barrier weighs 4,180 pounds and the impact speed is 37 mph. This is up from 3,300 lbs at 31 mph. The new test is more aligned with the weight of the average midsize SUV. Due to the rising popularity of SUVs, the test is now more closely aligned with real-world conditions that a driver might encounter.


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“Safety is a top priority at Mazda, and we have long researched how to protect occupants from side impacts,” said Masaki Ueno, MNAO vice president of R&D, design, and quality assurance. “We have studied real-world crashes and used computer simulation to consider body structure and load paths, resulting in the robust design that has existed in the CX-5 since the 2017 model year.”

“We developed this new test because we suspected there was room for more progress, and these results confirm that,” IIHS President David Harkey says. “The good rating for the CX-5 shows that robust protection in a more severe side crash is achievable.”

This is yet another feather in Mazda's cap. The Mazda 3, Mazda 6, CX-3, CX-30, CX-5, and CX-9 come as standard with a Top Safety Pick + rating, the highest rating a car can receive.

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As for the cars that did not do as well. Acceptable ratings were given to the Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Venza, and Volvo XC40. Marginal ratings were given to the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Kia Sportage, and Lincoln Corsair. Most surprisingly, the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross received poor ratings.

The IIHS mentions that all the models tested were 2021 models, with the exception of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross which was a 2020 model.

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