• New compact is the fifth Mazda to attain Europe’s highest possible rating
• Car’s predictable dynamics and drivability makes accidents even more improbable
Another convention-defying vehicle, another top score: The all-new Mazda3 has been awarded the maximum safety rating of five stars by Euro NCAP*. Mazda’s newest model is thereby the safest compact available across Europe to be tested by Euro NCAP thus far in 2013.
The latest version of Mazda’s all-time bestseller achieved outstanding marks in all four categories, chalking up 93 per cent and 86 per cent, respectively, for adult and child occupant protection – both among the highest scores in Europe this year – and 65 per cent and 81 per cent in the pedestrian protection and safety assist categories. These figures easily surpassed the respective Euro NCAP thresholds required for five stars overall**. It’s the first rating for the all-new Mazda3 from a major safety assessment authority.
Available as a hatchback or sedan, the new model is now the fifth Mazda to earn the exclusive five-star badge since Euro NCAP introduced a tough new rating system in 2009. Here it follows in the footsteps of the outgoing Mazda3, the previous and current Mazda6, and the Mazda CX-5. Like the latter two, the all-new Mazda3 comes with the unique impact-absorbing yet lightweight SKYACTIV-Body and SKYACTIV-Chassis. Around 60 per cent of the body, for example, is made from high and ultra-high tensile steels. That’s up from half in its predecessor, making Mazda’s new compact lighter yet some 30 per cent stiffer. It thus delivers even better passive safety protection, which is complemented by the cutting-edge i-ACTIVSENSE range of sensor-based active safety technology. Euro NCAP evaluations will include these kinds of systems starting in 2014.
Another highlight of the all-new Mazda3, which went on sale in Europe last month, is its predictably responsive acceleration, braking and steering. By making the car easier to drive safely, such attributes further reduce accident potential with no compromise to Mazda’s fun-to-drive character. The car also features a completely redesigned interior based on a new cabin concept. The idea here is to help the driver make the best possible use of all the information the vehicle’s systems has to offer.
The passenger compartment of the Mazda 3 remained stable in the frontal impact. Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of the driver and passenger. Mazda showed that a similar level of protection would be provided to occupants of different sizes and to those in different positions. In the side barrier test, the car scored maximum points with good protection of all body regions. In the more severe side pole impact, dummy readings of rib compression indicated a weak level of chest protection. The front seats and head restraints provided good protection against whiplash injury in the event of a rear-end collision.
Based on dummy readings in the dynamic tests, the Mazda 3 scored maximum points for its protection of the 1½ year infant. In the frontal impact, forward movement of the 3 year dummy, sat in a forward-facing restraint, was not excessive. In the side barrier test, both dummies were properly contained within the protective shells of their restraints, minimising the likelihood of head contact with parts of the vehicle interior. The front passenger airbag can be disabled to allow a rearward-facing child restraint to be used in that seating position. Clear information is provided to the driver about the status of the airbag and the system was rewarded. The risks of using a rearward-facing seat in the front passenger seat without first disabling the airbag are clearly indicated in the car. All of the child restraint types for which the car is designed could be properly installed and accommodated, apart from the belted Group 0+ restraint in the rear centre seat. In this case, the support leg of the base of the restraint rested on the centre tunnel and lifted the restraint into an unsuitable position.
The bumper scored maximum points for the protection provided to pedestrians’ legs. However, the protection provided by the front edge of the bonnet was predominantly poor. The bonnet surface showed good or adequate protection over most of its surface, with poor results recorded on the stiff windscreen pillars.
The Mazda 3 has electronic stability control as standard equipment, and met Euro NCAP’s test requirements. A seatbelt reminder is provided for the front and rear seats and a driver-set speed limitation device is also standard equipment.
Euro NCAP | Mazda 3 | 2013 | Crash test
Euro NCAP | Mazda 3 | 2013 | ESC test