Mazda’s fourth-generation MX-5 is the first to score a 5-star safety rating and the highest pedestrian rating for a vehicle tested in Australia…

ANCAP has tested the MX-5 and it’s done very well for safety. As ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Goodwin says, that was “a good result for this type of vehicle”, as sportscar buyers tend not to priortise safety. He also noted that there were few active safety features such as AEB.

The MX-5 scored 35.20 out of 37 to earn a five star rating, with ANCAP giving 16 out of 16 and 2 out of 2 for the respective occupant protection side impact and pole tests, and a 14.2 out of 16 for the frontal offset test. The minimum score for a 5 star rating is 32.5 out of 37.

The MX-5 scored 33.72 points out of 36 for pedestrian safety, in part thanks to an “Active Bonnet” that pops up in an impact to help protect pedestrians from injury. There’s also energy absorbing foam to prevent a pedestrian’s leg from sliding under the front of the car. This pedestrian safety score was the highest ever for any vehicle tested in Australia, with or without an active bonnet.

Other vehicles that include an active bonnet, or some sort of bonnet safety mechanism for pedestrian protection are the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the Volvo V40 which features a windscreen mounted airbag, the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XE and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. The last two weren’t tested in Australia but based on EuroNCAP testing achieved a score of 29.44 out of 36 (EuroNCAP) and 29.7 out of 36 (ANCAP), respectively.

Other rear-drive sportscar safety ratings

The sportscars based on hatch or sedan platforms such as the Subaru WRX, Renault Megane and Ford Focus tend to inherit the rating from their base platform, which is generally 5 stars. The cars more likely to score less than 5 are those based on pure sportscar platforms, like these:

  • Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ – 5 star, 34.4 out of 37
  • Nissan 370Z – not tested
  • Lexus RC350 / RC F – not tested
  • Porsche Boxster / Cayman – not tested
  • Alfa Romeo 4C – not tested
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK200 – not tested
  • Ford Mustang – not tested. However, in American testing the Ford Mustang did not achieve a “Top Safety Pick” (equivalent of 5 stars) because of its performance in the frontal offset test. ANCAP has not tested the Mustang so that may not apply to Australia as the tests are not exactly equivalent.

As can be seen from the list above, often sportscars aren’t even tested, and that reflects the typical buyer’s lack of interest in the results. So good on Mazda for achieving a great safety rating for what is already a superb little coupe.

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