Mazda’s redesigned 2014 Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 earned a “Top Safety Pick+” distinction from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

“A redesign is not simply a matter of changing a vehicle’s sheet metal draping but involves dramatically altering its insides, outsides and everything in between to make that vehicle not only look great but be more efficient, more powerful and, most importantly, safer,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO).  “With our new fleet of SKYACTIV vehicles, the 2014 Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 were created to be the best in their segments from fuel economy and safety to dynamics and performance, and having earned Top Safety Pick+ distinctions is further proof to their success.”

IIHS had new criteria this year; a Top Safety Pick award now requires a “Good” performance in the Institute’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and, for the first time, requires “Good” or “Acceptable” performance in the small overlap front test that was introduced in 2012.  The same level of performance in those tests, along with at least a “Basic” rating for front crash prevention, is required for the highest accolade of Top Safety Pick+.

The 2014 Mazda3 and CX-5 both earned a Good rating for all crash impact tests and an Advanced rating for front crash prevention.

The 2014 Mazda6 also received an Advanced rating for front crash prevention and a rating of Good for all crash impact tests while earning a grade of Acceptable in the small overlap test.

Mazda said all vehicles feature a suite of active-safety pre-crash detection systems collectively known as i-ACTIVSENSE.  These technologies use sensing devices such as milliwave radars and cameras to support the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions and minimizing damage should accidents occur.  While these systems will not eliminate accidents, their intent is to minimize them and reduce the severity of a crash.

As listed by Mazda, the features available under i-ACTIVSENSE for North America are:

  • High Beam Control – The system automatically switches the headlamps between high and low beams.
  • Blind Spot Monitoring – This safety confirmation system detects objects located in blind-spot areas to the sides and rear of the vehicle and issues a visual alert within the outside mirrors for the driver to see.  Should the turn signal be on for the direction in which the “blind” object is located, audible beeps will alert the driver.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert – Using the same sensor as Blind Spot Monitoring, this system detects and informs the driver of any vehicle approaching from the side while the driver is reversing out of a parking space.
  • Lane Departure Warning System – This system monitors the lane markings on the road and issues a warning to the driver when it predicts that the vehicle is going to depart from its lane unintentionally.
  • Forward Obstruction Warning – This system monitors the road ahead and issues both audible and visual alerts to help the driver take evasive action when it determines a high risk of collision to exist.  FOW operates when traveling between speeds of 9 and 92 mph.
  • Smart City Brake Support – When traveling at speeds of less than 19 mph, SCBS helps prevent or minimize a collision with a vehicle.  Should the imbedded laser sensor detect an object, and the system calculates there may be a high risk for collision, the brake pedal travel is reduced in order to hasten braking.  Should the driver fail to perform an avoidance maneuver, the system will activate an automatic braking function.
  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control – The system determines the difference in speed and distance to the vehicle in front and will automatically adjust the cruising speed in order to maintain a safe distance. (Not available on CX-5.)
  • Adaptive Front-lighting System – Optimizes distribution of light from the headlights in accordance to driving circumstances.  Depending on vehicle speed and steering input, AFS turns the low-beam headlights up to 15 degrees into the direction the driver intends to travel.