In addition to excellent handling and confidence-inspiring handling, the 2012 Mazda3 has a top-notch list of safety features, with no gaps when comparing it to other affordably priced small cars. And beginning this year, it's the first model in its class with a blind-spot monitoring system.
All models--even the base SV--include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, active head restraints, and side-curtain bags. Strong four-wheel disc brakes are included in all Mazda3 models, in a class where, for about the same money, most models include inferior inferior (by some accounts) rear disc brakes.
Because the Mazda3's structure carries over virtually unchanged to 2012, so do its federal frontal crash-test scores of five stars for the driver, four for the passenger. But its three-star side-impact score remains the only cause for concern in the safety area.
The Mazda3 is again an IIHS Top Safety Pick, with top 'good' results in frontal, side, and rear impact, as well as a top rating for rollover-related roof strength.