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Thursday, October 28, 2021

The 2021 Mazda CX-5 Is The Toughest Small SUV Around


The 2021 Mazda CX-5 is the only small SUV to have aced the new, tougher side-impact crash test put out by the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS. It’s the only small SUV to score a ‘good’ rating out of 20 tested by the IIHS.

The revised side-impact crash test is meant to address the higher-speed crashes that continue to cause fatalities.

A 2011 study of 10 years’ worth of crash data found that a driver of a vehicle with a good side rating is 70 percent less likely to die in a left-side crash than a driver of a vehicle with a poor rating. However, side impacts still accounted for 23 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2019.

To address those crashes, the IIHS updated its side test uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. The new barrier weighs 4,180 pounds (1,896 kilograms)—close to the weight of today’s midsize SUVs—and strikes the test vehicle at 37 mph (60 km/h), compared with a 3,300-pound (1,496 kilograms) barrier traveling at 31 mph (50 km/h) in the original evaluation. Together, those two changes mean it involves 82 percent more energy.

The honeycomb striking surface of the new barrier also has a different design that acts more like a real SUV or pickup when it hits another vehicle.

While it’s the MY2021 CX-5 that was tested under the more stringent side-impact tests, Mazda revealed that the robust design of their SUV has existed since MY2017—the year the current model, the KF, was introduced.

The IIHS revealed that nine vehicles earn acceptable ratings: the Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Venza, and Volvo XC40.

Eight others — the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Kia Sportage, and Lincoln Corsair—earn marginal ratings. Two more, the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, receive poor ratings.

All but one of the tested vehicles was a 2021 model. Mitsubishi skipped the 2021 model year for the Eclipse Cross, so the 2020 model was tested. With the exception of the Compass and the Tucson, the ratings carry over to 2022 models.

Mazda is adding this achievement to its list of accolades from IIHS, including all-tested Mazda vehicles earning the highest-rated IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick+. These vehicles include the Mazda3 Sedan Hatchback, Mazda6, CX-3, CX-30 (built after September 2020 due to headlights), CX-5, and CX-9.

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