Is Mazda’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Fiat’s?

The IIHS gave higher safety scores to the Mazda CX-3 than the Fiat 500X overall. Safety upgrades can reduce your auto insurance rates by up to 8%.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Mazda and Fiat went head to head in most categories for the safety of their small size SUVs
  • Just because a small size SUV is bigger than others in its class doesn’t mean it will be the safer choice because of the different factors that play into the safety of a vehicle
  • It is important to look at which trims and optional features helped a vehicle receive the appropriate safety ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) puts a lot of importance on the accuracy of its tests. The IIHS likes to be sure they are providing the most accurate results from the safety tests they perform so people can be confident in choosing a safer vehicle.

Most people know if they are buying a vehicle that has an IIHS award, they are going to get the safest vehicle in its class.

Because the IIHS wants to make sure they are offering everything they can to consumers, they use their tests to determine the safest vehicles.

It is also important for the IIHS to do tests that are as realistic as possible. If they can perform tests that are realistic, they know they will be setting the car up for success in the future.

If the IIHS wasn’t performing the tests in the most realistic way, there is a chance the vehicles would not perform similarly while they are on the road.

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Mazda and Fiat’s Safety Ratings

The Mazda CX-3 and the Fiat 500X are two of the safest vehicles in the small-size SUV class. One of the vehicles was able to take away the coveted Top Safety Pick award. The other vehicle took it one step further and brought home a Top Safety Pick+ award.

The vehicles had similar scores in each area, but the overall score of one was clearly higher than the other.

Performance during Collisions

The performance during a collision is something that’s important to most people. Even though most people don’t want to get in an accident, they realize it is always a possibility.

Having a vehicle that performed better during a crash test will help consumers feel safer while they are driving or doing day-to-day tasks in their car.

The Mazda CX-3 was rated “Good” on all aspects of the crash tests. Like most small-size SUVs, the IIHS was unable to test its small overlap front passenger side stability. It did not receive a rating for this category.

The Fiat 500X also received the same ratings for each of the crash tests including:

  • the moderate overlap front
  • the sides
  • the roof
  • the restraints

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Mitigation and Avoidance

The IIHS performs tests to determine if a vehicle can avoid a crash. The test involves looking at the headlights and any features that were added to help the vehicle stop without driver intervention.

The CX-3 and the 500X were very different in each of these categories. For the headlights, the CX-3 received a score of A which is for Acceptable. The headlights worked well on straightaways and on gradual curves, but they didn’t work on sharp curves.

The 500X received a score of “P” for “Poor” which the worst score a vehicle can receive. The headlights were too close to the ground, they did not project enough light and they were not bright enough.

For crash avoidance, the CX-3 scored a superior score which is the highest it can receive. The auto brake worked flawlessly and brought the vehicle to a complete stop both times.

The 500X, on the other hand, did not work as well. It was rated an “Advanced” score because it only brought the vehicle to a complete stop from 12 miles per hour. While the speed was reduced from 25 miles per hour, it was not able to completely stop.

The Anchor and LATCH System

The LATCH system is an important safety feature for vehicles. The LATCH system’s ease of use is the only thing the IIHS looks at when they are judging it based on the ratings it receives.

The LATCH system in the CX-3 received a score of “A” for “Acceptable” because it had other parts that could have been mistaken for the LATCH anchors.

The system in the 500X was only rated as an “M” for “Marginal” because it was too deep in the seat and it was too difficult to latch into.

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The IIHS Awards

The highest award a vehicle can receive from the IIHS is the Top Safety Pick+. To receive this award, the vehicle cannot have anything that is rated “Marginal” or “Poor” in any of the major categories.

The CX-3 satisfied those requirements and was able to be the Top Safety Pick+ winner for the award.

The 500X also received an award, but since it had ratings of both “M” and “P,” it was only eligible to receive the Top Safety Pick award.

The Mazda CX-3 scored better overall for each of the categories it was tested on and was the winner.

Since the IIHS safety ratings give an accurate reading of how safe a vehicle is, buys can rely on the IIHS ratings and awards to get the best information possible.

Buyers who choose a vehicle that is safer will be able to benefit from it.

  • They can be better protected while they are driving
  • They will save more money in the long run
  • They may even find driving to be more enjoyable since they feel more comfortable while they are doing it

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