Kudos to Mazda

In the IIHS’s latest side impact test of small SUVs, Mazda’s model was the only one to receive a “good” rating. Nine others were “acceptable”, eight more were “marginal”, and two were “poor”. Surprisingly, one of the ones rated “poor” was a Honda. The other “poor” one was a Mitsubishi, but I don’t find that to be very surprising.


The test results for the HRV suggest the weak points were reinforced more recently. But it still scored at the bottom, The Mitsubishi is based on an old design, the Outlander now shares a platform with the Nissan Rogue. Most of the others including the Volvo didn’t do as well in this new test.

Weren’t these SUV’s designed to meet the old test, which they did? So now the test is cranked up and they don’t do so well. Not really surprising. The engineering to meet the test takes time so my question is how much lead time did the makers have before the test was actually used on their SUV’s?


When many manufacturers meet the old test, IIHS makes it harder to pass. That way they decrease the cost payout for all the safety issues they test. Decreased payout is the goal of the insurance industry, and they do it by improving resilience to accident damage.

There are lots of different interests involved in the regulation game. It seems to generally work out in reducing injury and deaths, but it is much more expensive to continually increase protection without expecting a greater level of responsibility among drivers and passengers.

Preventing injury if a vehicle gets hammered in the driver’s door.
Laws of physics make that a tough job.
p.s. I rate that IIHS-HLDI logo “poor” for appearance.

If Mazda can make a small SUV that passes the new test then all of the manufacturers can. Mazda has, for years, shown that they can balance an excellent driving experience with excellent safety features and top notch reliability. I have bought nothing but Mazdas since 2012 and have never been disappointed.


It looks like a weak and narrow front bumper is part of the reason why the doors get smashed in on these tests. It would be cheaper to have a stronger front bumper than to put heavy beams in doors. How safe a vehicle is for the other vehicle that it is crashing in to needs to be considered too. Since 1997 I think it is the US government has required tall vehicles to have some crash structure lower down such “Prius catchers” to help with this situation. But it could go further.