The recently refreshed 2019 Mazda CX-5 has earned America's highest safety rating - The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Plus. This new rating places the Mazda CX-5 above the pricey BMW X2 and also above the CX-5's historical competitors, the Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester.
In order to earn this highest safety level, a vehicle must earn Good ratings in both the driver-side and passenger-side small overlap crash test, plus a score of Good on all the other tests including the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Then, the vehicle must also earn an Advanced or Superior rating for active safety and also a Good rating for at least one trim's headlights. Among the models we have mentioned in this story, only the CX-5 achieves all of these requirements.
So, what's holding back the Forester, X2, and CR-V? We know that all three have an excellent reputation for safety and that the automakers that build them are committed to doing the best they can. Simply put, none of them offer a headlight technology that can earn a score of Good.
It's not like a headlight package needs to be expensive to earn a Good rating. Economy cars like the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra earn a score of Good. It's a shame that these automakers miss the highest safety level because of the headlights they offer.
Mazda's CX-5 offers curve-adaptive LED headlights on its Grand Touring and Signature trims for 2019. These headlights bend into corners to help you see better. You can't get that technology in the BMW or Honda. Mazda also offers automatic high beams that dim themselves as vehicles approach to reduce glare.