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May 19, 2022

2022 Mazda CX-9 Scores "Good" Rating In Tougher New Side-Impact Test

After the Mazda CX-5 aced the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)’s tougher side-impact test, its big brother, the CX-9 managed to do the same.

In this series of tests on mid-size SUVs, the Mazda CX-9 stood out as being one of only three models to achieve a “Good” rating in the difficult driver pelvis injury measure (the other others being the Jeep Wrangler and the Volkswagen ID.4), and one of only two models to get a “Good” rating in every category (the other being the Volkswagen ID.4).

IIHS introduced the new, tougher side test to address higher-speed crashes that continue to cause fatalities. Like the original side test, the new test represents the type of crash that occurs when two crossing vehicles collide in an intersection.

A 2011 study of 10 years’ worth of crash data found that a driver of a vehicle with a good rating in the original test 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 2020.

The updated evaluation uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. Instead of the earlier 3,300 pounds (1,496 kilograms), the new one weighs around 4,200 pounds (1,905 kilograms), which approximates the weight of most modern midsize SUVs. Instead of striking the test vehicle at 31 mph (50 km/h), it hits it at 37 mph (60 km/h). Together, those changes mean the crash produces 82 percent more energy.

The honeycomb striking surface of the new barrier also has a different design that acts more like today’s SUVs or pickups when striking the side of another vehicle.

To earn a good rating in either the old or new side test, the vehicle’s occupant compartment must hold its shape well during the crash. Measures collected from the dummies must not indicate a high risk of severe injuries. In addition, the side airbags and seat belts should prevent the dummies’ heads from making hard contact with the interior of the vehicle.

Other SUVs which received a “Good” rating include the Ford Explorer and Subaru Evoltis. Meanwhile, the Jeep Wrangler, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade both received a “Marginal” rating, while the Nissan Murano actually stored a “Poor” rating in terms of its crash structure.

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