The 2013 Mazda3 has no holes with respect to safety features, and its excellent handling may prove an asset in avoiding an accident. Yet its crash-test ratings aren't quite at the head of the class.All models--even the base SV--include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, active head restraints, and side-curtain bags. And while most compact models in this price range offer inferior (by some accounts) rear drum brakes, the Mazda3 offers rear discs. It's also one of the first compact mass-market models to offer an available blind-spot monitoring system.
Although Mazda has refreshed the 3 in recent years, its underlying structure is now one of the oldest in this class, and its federal NCAP safety results--four stars overall, with only three-star results for side impact--aren't cause for celebration. On the other hand, the somewhat more lenient IIHS tests give the Mazda3 top 'good' results for frontal, side, and rear impact--and it's again a Top Safety Pick.
Mazda also points to the the 3's standard spare tire as a safety feature--considering that a lot of vehicles now skip it entirely, in favor of a can of aerosol sealant.