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Last year, several Mazda models earned Top Safety Pick+ honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They include the 2022 CX-5, CX-30, and CX-9 SUVs. In particular, the IIHS pays close attention to pedestrian detection and collision mitigation features. For a vehicle to win the highest IIHS award, those systems must receive excellent ratings for their functionality and ease of use. If you’re not an SUV fan, Mazda’s compact car is also one of the safest. Let’s look at the 2022 Mazda3, another Top Safety Pick+ winner.

How safe is the 2022 Mazda3?

A gray 2023 Mazda3 shows off its hatchback car proportions.
Mazda3 hatchback | Mazda

The IIHS was impressed with the crashworthiness of both the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback. It also got high scores for its crash mitigation features, plus an above-average rating for its LATCH connectors. All Mazda3 models come with standard LED projector headlights, though the IIHS gave these headlights only an average rating. 

The Mazda3 Premium and both Turbo trims have curve-adaptive LED headlights. They earned good ratings overall, but the testers found that the low beams don’t provide enough lighting around gradual left curves.

Features that put the Mazda3 among the safest cars of 2022

The 2022 Mazda3’s forward automatic emergency braking system, lane-departure warning, driver drowsiness warning, and adaptive cruise control are standard across the lineup. The Mazda3 Select has blind-spot monitors with rear-cross traffic alerts, which can help prevent rear-end collisions in crowded parking lots. In addition to the adaptive headlights, the Mazda3 Premium has traffic sign recognition and built-in navigation.

A fully loaded Mazda3 Turbo Premium Plus also comes with standard traffic jam assist with steering assist. While keeping a safe following distance at low speeds, this function allows the steering wheel to center the car in its lane automatically. It also has rear automatic emergency braking and a surround-view parking camera.  

Both Turbo trims are equipped with the Mazda3’s most potent engine, a turbo-four generating up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired exclusively with Mazda’s all-wheel-drive system, designed to elevate fuel economy and traction. Turbo-equipped models can get up to 23/32 mpg city/highway, but those with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine are even more efficient. 

It makes 186 hp and comes standard on every trim except the Turbo models and the base 2.0 sedan. Even with AWD, a Mazda3 sedan with this engine can earn an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg. 

The 2022 Mazda3 2.0 gets the best gas mileage, but it’s available only in the sedan body style with a front-wheel drivetrain. It also has a slightly weaker 155-hp four-cylinder engine and lacks smartphone integration.

However, Car and Driver says even this model has a satisfying ride quality and offers lots of driving engagement. Every Mazda3 also features upscale cabin materials and a user-friendly infotainment system. 

How does the 2023 Mazda3 compare?

The 2023 Mazda3 adds standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, plus a more powerful base engine. It still has the same excellent crash mitigation features and revamped side airbags. However, subpar scores on the IIHS’s updated side test kept the Mazda3 from earning another Top Safety Pick+ badge.

The updated side test simulates a higher impact speed and a stronger barrier than the regular test. While the 2023 Mazda3 earned good scores for passenger protection, drivers have the bare minimum protection for their torso and pelvis.

Some of the Mazda3’s siblings, including the CX-9 and CX-5, got better scores on this new test. Still, the 2023 Mazda3 ensures high driver confidence overall with a Top Safety Pick award.


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