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2013 Mazda CX-5 Named IIHS Top Safety Pick

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author photo by Nick Palermo March 2012
  • All-new 5-passenger compact crossover from Mazda
  • Replaces Ford Escape-based Mazda Tribute
  • Offers better fuel economy and class-leading safety

Mazda's all-new five-passenger compact crossover SUV, the 2013 CX-5, was recently named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The CX-5, which replaces the Ford Escape-derived Mazda Tribute, is the first vehicle from Mazda to include the full range of its Skyactiv Technology. The Skyactiv program is intended to promote performance while also improving safety and efficiency. The Top Safety Pick for the CX-5 is a step up from the old Tribute, which suffered from poor roof strength.

The IIHS names vehicles that score the best possible rating of "Good" in each of four crash test categories as Top Safety Picks. The outgoing Mazda Tribute received a "Marginal" rating for roof strength, although it received "Good" ratings in other categories. The new CX-5 shares a platform with Mazda's only other IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Mazda3.

Part of Mazda's broad Skyactiv program includes saving weight and improving strength through the use of high-tensile steel. The CX-5 is the first vehicle to use the stronger, lighter metal in its front and rear bumper beams. Over sixty percent of the CX-5's body is made from the material, and its use may help explain the safety improvement over the old Tribute.

Although the CX-5 is not significantly lighter than the Tribute, other Skyactiv elements contribute to an improvement in fuel economy, too. A new direct-injection 2.0-liter engine and improved aerodynamics yield an EPA rating of 35 mpg highway for a front-wheel drive CX-5 with a manual transmission. The Tribute only managed 28 mpg. All-wheel drive, which can be an important safety feature for drivers in some climates or environments, is available but results in a slight fuel economy penalty.

When automakers introduce a branded design and engineering strategy like Mada has with Skyactiv Technology, it can be difficult to determine just how much substance backs up the name. The proof often comes only with a new model like the CX-5 that embodies the philosophy. The improvements in efficiency and safety achieved by the 2013 CX-5, including an IIHS Top Safety Pick designation, suggest that Skyactiv Technology is more than just a marketing gimmick.

What it means to you: The all-new 2013 CX-5 compact crossover SUV is among the safest vehicles in its class, according to IIHS crash test results.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Mazda CX-5 Named IIHS Top Safety Pick - Autotrader