We’ve highlighted a number of vehicles tested by the IIHS, and specifically ones that come up just a little short of being lauded with the organization’s highest safety rating of Top Safety Pick+. The reason most of these vehicles fall short is sub-par headlights. But this time we have a different story. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 actually snagged the coveted award, and impressively, it’s the only small crossover SUV the organization has tested to earn it.
The reason of course hinges on headlight performance. In order for a vehicle to get the award, it has to have headlights available that score a “Good” rating, in addition to having stellar crash tests. The available adaptive lighting system available on all trims (optional on the base Sport) after March 2018 is rated “Good.” The standard headlights on the Sport model earned the second-highest rating of “Acceptable.” The CX-5 also earned a “Good” rating in every crash test, including both small-overlap tests. It earned 5 out of 6 points in forward collision prevention, netting a “Superior” rating.
There are many safe options in the small SUV category besides the CX-5, though. The Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda’s own CX-3, and Mitsubishi Outlander match the CX-5’s straight-“Good” crash test ratings. They all also pick up an additional forward collision point in the collision warning category. The best headlights any of them can offer, though, are just “Acceptable,” and the standard headlights can be even worse with “Marginal” or “Poor” ratings.