Author: Steve Allen |

Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today announced that three of its vehicles have been named as “2016 Top Safety Pick+” recipients by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 2016 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover, Mazda3 compact sedan and five-door and Mazda6 midsize sedan each provide class-leading safety protection, according to the IIHS.

In IIHS testing, vehicles are subjected to a gauntlet of rollover and collision tests—the small-overlap front crash test being one of the latest and one of the most stringent. The IIHS notes that approximately 25 percent of traffic fatalities occur in small-overlap crashes, which put more force onto a smaller piece of the car’s structure than other current frontal-collision tests.

To attain Top Safety Pick+ honors, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of “Good” for 2016 in five body-structure categories, including small-overlap crash-testing, and have an advanced rating in available collision-prevention technologies like automatic braking—a new requirement in this year’s evaluations.

“We pride ourselves on the engineering that went into making our vehicles among the lightest and most efficient in their segments, but our SKYACTIV Technology has also helped us design and build some of the safest vehicles on the road as well,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO. “It means a lot that Mazda vehicles are stylish and fun to drive. It means much more that we don’t have to sacrifice any of that style for the safety features that help keep Mazda drivers and passengers safe.”

CX-5, Mazda3 and Mazda6 are available with advanced safety technologies as part of a full suite called i-ACTIVSENSE.

i-ACTIVSENSE1 includes Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) for low-speed braking, Smart Brake Support for highway-speed braking, and, in select vehicles, Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, among other features.

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover is available with a choice of a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter, 155-horsepower engine with a six-speed manual SKYACTIV-MT transmission or a 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engine with 184 horsepower. The 2.5-liter model is available in front-wheel drive or Mazda’s predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive. MSRP on CX-5 starts at $21,7952.

The 2016 Mazda3 carries a base MSRP3 of $17,845 and comes with a host of standard and available features including leather seating surfaces, a six-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission or SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual, 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter or 184-horsepower, 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engines.

Mazda6 is available with a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission and a newly designed, premium interior for 2016. By virtue of its eye-catching KODO—Soul of Motion design and engaging driving dynamics, Mazda6 demonstrates that a family sedan need not be dull to drive. MSRP begins from $21,495.