One of our critiques of Mazda’s new 2023 CX-50 is that it doesn’t really differentiate itself from the compact SUV pack, but a new safety accolade will help set it apart. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced that the 2023 CX-50 earned its Top Safety Pick Plus award, the agency’s highest designation.
To qualify for the award, the CX-50 had to earn good ratings in six IIHS crashworthiness evaluations, including the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It also needed to earn high marks for front crash prevention and headlights.
According to IIHS, the CX-50’s standard front crash prevention system earned a superior rating in vehicle-to-vehicle and daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. For headlights, the Turbo trims tested used curve-adaptive LED projector headlights that earned a good rating. IIHS said the static LED projector headlights used on other trims received an acceptable rating.
The CX-50 is Mazda’s first off-road-themed vehicle. Power comes from a choice of two 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, either naturally aspirated or turbocharged. It competes against other off-road-oriented vehicles such as the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road. The 2022 Forester is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award winner; the 2022 RAV4 is not.
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