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The 2022 Mazda CX-5 is a super safe small SUV. That’s at least according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s a Top Safety Pick+ winner and also got a good score in the important updated side crash test. The side crash test is a new addition to the IIHS’ testing regime. It’s vital to how your vehicle will perform in a crash. Here’s what that test means and why it doesn’t count toward awards (yet). And, why the 2022 Mazda CX-5 safety ratings make it a great choice.

A white 2022 Mazda CX-5 driving through a town.
2022 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The 2022 Mazda CX-5 is a Top Safety Pick+

The 2022 Mazda CX-5 is a Top Safety Pick+. This is the IIHS’ top safety award, and it means that an SUV meets a whole bunch of stringent criteria. To win the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must have good crash test ratings in all major categories. It also has to have superior or advanced safety systems and acceptable or good headlights standard on all models.  

Although a vehicle winning the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award is obviously a positive when you’re car shopping, not all vehicles with these awards are equal. The IIHS says, “These awards identify the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories during a given year. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones. Thus, a small car that qualifies for an award might not protect its occupants as well as a bigger vehicle that doesn’t earn the award.” It’s also important to note that not all IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners have good updated side crash tests, either.

The Mazda CX-5 has a good updated side crash test

The IIHS just started conducting a new test on vehicles. It’s called the updated side crash test and it’s harder for a vehicle to do well on than the old test. That means SUVs, cars, and trucks that do well are safer. Whereas vehicles used to be struck by a 3,300 pound barrier at 31 mph, they now are struck by a 4,200 pound barrier at 37 mph. This simulates what happens in crashes with today’s vehicles, which tend to be larger and heavier than before.

To further make the new updated side crash test more like an actual car accident, the IIHS has changed the honeycomb barrier. The IIHS says, “Like real SUVs and pickups, the new barrier tends to bend around the B-pillar between the driver and rear passenger doors. This creates depressions in the front and rear doors of the struck vehicle. The occupant space can be compromised this way even if the vehicle has a strong B-pillar.”

The CX-5 is the only small Top Safety Pick+ to get a good rating on the updated side crash test

You may wish to make sure that you get a vehicle with a good updated side crash test. If you’re in the market for a small sport utility vehicle, you’ll want to buy the 2022 Mazda CX-5. Out of all of the small SUVs that the IIHS has performed the updated side crash test on, the CX-5 is the only one that is both a Top Safety Pick+ that also got a good result on this test.

It is worth noting, however, that a whole bunch of small sport utility vehicles haven’t been tested yet. These include other Top Safety Pick+ winners like the 2022 Mazda CX-30, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, and the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport. However, several Top Safety Pick+ winners were tested, and got less-than-perfect ratings. The 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Nissan Rogue, and 2022 Volvo XC40 got an acceptable on the updated side crash test.

If you want the safest small SUV that you can buy, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 is currently one of the best options. That’s because of its status as both a Top Safety Pick+ winner as well as its good updated side crash test result. However, it’s likely that other sport utility vehicles will be tested in the coming months, so definitely check back if you’re in the market for a new SUV.


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