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

Things to remember...

  • The Mazda CX-3 and Honda CR-V both received similar scores in the IIHS tests
  • The 2017 models for the Mazda and the Honda small SUVs will be less expensive to insure because they are Top Safety Pick+ award winners
  • When IIHS tests the vehicles, they make sure their tests are as realistic as possible so there are no issues with the authenticity of a vehicle’s result

Since the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has high standards of what vehicles must do to pass their tests, they make sure they are using the most sophisticated crash tests possible.

The tests were all designed to perfectly mimic situations that could actually happen on the road.

The IIHS has access to the best tests possible and they use them to figure out which vehicles are going to be the best. The tests are standard across the board to ensure the scores each vehicle receives is accurate.

The results of the tests will be:

  • Good (G)
  • Acceptable (A)
  • Marginal (M)
  • Poor (P)

The IIHS looks at different aspects of each crash test to determine whether the vehicle is going to receive a G, A, M or P.

Compare car insurance quotes for these vehicles to see how much their safety features could save you. Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool above to get started.

Table of Contents

Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-3

The Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-3 had nearly identical ratings for each of the tests the IIHS performed.

Neither of the vehicles was able to have data recorded for the passenger-side small overlap front test which lowered their standing in the rankings of safest small-size SUVs.

They still scored higher than most vehicles. In fact, the Honda CR-V was in the third place for safest while the CX-3 was in the fourth place.

The vehicles had no scores that were below acceptable. All of the scores they received were the same. The difference between the vehicles was in the LATCH system, but they both had an acceptable score in this area.

The vehicles were rated as good for each of the crash tests they went through.

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Autobrake and Headlights

To determine if a vehicle is going to be able to stop in time before there is a collision, the IIHS tests their auto brake features. The CX-3 and the CR-V both have the auto brake as something that is available with certain optional equipment only.

The base models do not have the auto brake, but the optional equipment allowed both vehicles to receive a superior performance rating on the auto brake and crash avoidance. 

The vehicles warning systems were up to safety standards and they both reduced speed enough from 12 and 25 miles per hour to avoid a collision during the tests.

The CR-V headlights only received an A score with certain trims while the CX-3 received an A score with optional equipment. The headlight score was the biggest difference between the two vehicles.

During a Collision

When the IIHS looks at the ability of a vehicle to perform during an accident, it looks at:

  • Small overlap front driver and passenger sides
  • Moderate overlap front
  • Sides of the vehicle
  • Strength of the roof in the event of a rollover
  • Efficacy of the seats, headrests, and restraints

There was not a clear winner between the CX-3 and the CR-V because the scores were the same. Even the passenger-side small overlap front test was the same for both vehicles in that it could not be performed.

Since they were not rated in this area, their total score fell just slightly.

LATCH Efficacy

To determine whether people will be more likely to use the LATCH system the right way, the IIHS looks at how the system works and whether or not there is other equipment that would make it hard for people to actually use it the right way.

The CR-V had a LATCH system that did not have other equipment that could be confused with it, but the reach of the system was a bit too far.

The CX-3 did have other hardware close to the LATCH system that people may mistake as the LATCH system causing them to put the child at risk.

Safety Picks and Winners

The IIHS determines which vehicles are going to receive awards based on the overall safety of the vehicle. For The Institute to determine whether a vehicle is going to be safe or not, they have to make sure things are going to work during all different types of collisions.

The vehicles may score an acceptable or good on anything. They can have missing data, but the IIHS has to note why the data was missing. The date for major tests cannot be missing for vehicles to receive the awards.

Since the CR-V and the CX-3 were nearly identical for all of their scores, they both received the Top Safety Pick+ award.

The 2017 models performed better than most and received the awards because the cars maintained their integrity throughout different crashes.

They also received it because they did not have anything below an acceptable.

The Honda CR-V came out slightly ahead of the Mazda CX-3 because the best headlights were available on certain trims. The CX-3 had them available with optional equipment which was slightly less desirable. The difference in the ratings of the two vehicles is negligible.

Safety Saves Money

Vehicles that have the Top Safety Pick+ awards are less expensive for people to get insurance on than ones that do not have the award. The premiums for these vehicles can be substantially less because there is less of a risk of personal injury or major vehicle damage.

Not only will choosing a Top Safety Pick+ save you in the event of a crash but it will also help you spend less on insurance.

Be sure to read up on all the expenses your new car will bring into your life; safety rating matter, but so do insurance premiums. There are a lot of factors that go into calculating car insurance rates, and it’s important to read up on all of them so you can find the best deal.

Comparing free car insurance quotes online is a great way to gauge the average cost of insuring each new prospect on your list and ensuring that your new car will be covered properly and affordably for years to come. Enter your zip code below to get started comparing!


  1. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/about-us
  2. http://shop.honda.com/cr-v.aspx?from=shophonda.com/cr-v
  3. https://www.mazdausa.com/vehicles/2017-mazda3-sedan
  4. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/v/class-summary/small-suvs
  5. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/honda/cr-v-4-door-suv/2017
  6. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/mazda/cx-3-4-door-suv/2017

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