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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Top Safety Pick+
'Good,' frontal, side, and rear (seat) categories; 'good,' roof strength; 'good,' small overlap frontal
Five stars overall; five stars frontal, five stars side impact
for many drivers, the windshield pillar, called the A pillar, can block your view of pedestrians and cars angling from the side
The all-new Mazda3 has an impressive list of standard features, plus some active-safety features that go beyond what's usually on offer in an affordable compact car; while that should place it in high regard, we're still waiting for a full set of crash-test ratings for this all-new model.
The 2014 Mazda 3 has been built on a different platform than the previous version—one that's mostly shared with the CX-5 crossover and the Mazda 6 mid-size sedan.
The 3 has been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and it's earned excellent 'good' results in all categories--including the new small overlap frontal test. And that's given it the new IIHS Top Safety Pick+ distinction for 2014. Furthermore, it's achieves top five-star ratings in all of the federal government's crash tests.
All Touring and Grand Touring models get Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert; 'i' Grand Touring (and 'i' Touring if optioned) as well as all 's' models get a rearview camera as part of their Mazda Connect system.
Other available active-safety features in the 3 include Smart City Brake Support, which will use laser sensors to help anticipate a collision and activate emergency braking automatically (under 19 mph); Forward Obstruction Warning, which warns the driver of hazards ahead (between 9 and 92 mph); a Lane Departure Warning System, which warns the driver when they're straying from lane markings; and Blind Spot Monitoring, which beeps if you've clicked the turn signal in one direction and a car is currently in that space. A High Beam Control system and Adaptive Front Lighting are also available.
With that optional equipment, the IIHS gives the Mazda 3 its 'advanced' front crash protection rating.
Outward visibility is surprisingly obscured in the Mazda 3, and even anticipating the upwardly curved beltline, it’s worse from inside than the exterior suggests. That’s in part because door pillars are thick, and rear hatchbacks with their blacked-out glass lead you to believe there’s window space where there’s not.
The 2014 Mazda 3 earned Top Safety Pick+ status, and new active-safety options secure some added respect.