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A used Mazda CX-5 may seem like a nondescript little SUV, but it’s actually a pretty great option for teens. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) together with Consumer Reports puts out a list of the safest options, and the 2022 Mazda CX-5 is the cheapest new SUV on it.

A red 2014 Mazda CX-5 at night.
2014 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

The IIHS and Consumer Reports team up to publish the safest SUVs for teens

To determine which vehicles make the cut, the IIHS and Consumer Reports looks at those with good rating in the moderate overlap front, original side test, roof strength and also head restraint tests. They also must have a good or acceptable score in the driver-side small overlap front test. Those that have been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) must have at least four overall stars or a combination of at least four stars in the front and side tests under their old rating system. They also must have electronic stability control and a curb weight of 2,750 pounds or more.

In addition, SUVs must have better-than-average reliability ratings from Consumer Reports and emergency handling scores of at least 3. In addition, the vehicle must be able to stop from 60 mph on dry pavement in 145 or fewer feet. Finally, those that have “substantially higher than average claim frequency under medical payment or personal injury protection coverage” don’t make the cut.

Is the 2022 Mazda CX-5 good for teens?

A used Mazda CX-5 is a great SUV for teens. In fact, if you choose a used Mazda CX-5 for your teen, you have a lot of options. That’s because every Mazda CX-5 model year 2014 and newer is a great pick – provided it was manufactured after October 2013. Even better, it’s also the cheapest. The IIHS and Consumer Reports determined price based on the lowest trim and earliest acceptable model, and that means that you can get a super safe Mazda CX-5 for about $10,200.

If you do opt for the cheapest safe SUV for teens, you’ll probably be looking at a 2014 Mazda CX-5. It’s a Top Safety Pick+ with good crash test ratings and an advanced vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention optional system. Advanced is behind superior, but ahead of basic. The 2014 CX-5 also comes with standard daytime running lights and optional blind spot detection.

Newer Mazda CX-5 models offer more safety


The 2022 Mazda CX-5 Gets a Fresh New Face

If you can afford it, a newer Mazda CX-5 model will offer even more safety, thanks to standard safety systems and rated headlights. For example, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and it has good crashworthiness scores. It also comes standard with two front crash prevention systems: vehicle-to-vehicle, which is rated superior, and vehicle-to-pedestrian, which is advanced. In addition, the 2020 CX-5 has good headlights, provided you opt for one of several trim options: Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, Signature, or Sport trim. The Touring trim’s headlights are just acceptable.

A used Mazda CX-5 makes a great small SUV for a teen. It’s worth noting that the IIHS and Consumer Reports say that size and weight matter in a crash, and the CX-5 is considered a small SUV. There are larger SUVs on the list. However, for those who want a small SUV that’s considered safe for teens by two major safety organizations and they don’t want to pay a lot for it, a used Mazda CX-5 is a great choice.