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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    Two quick questions for those of you who follow safety testing and ratings:

    1. To what extent would a Marginal or Poor rating on IIHS' new Small Overlap test lead you to disqualify a particular vehicle from consideration for your family? I'm looking at a few models that are listed as Top Safety Picks, but that can't get "TSP+" because of their bad results on the small offset test, e.g. Toyota Prius V and Honda CR-V. When you see the crash test videos and read the results, it certainly gives cause for concern. At the same time, it may not make sense to totally exclude a vehicle that meets our needs and is regarded as generally "safe," just because it does not do well on one test that is new and particularly demanding. I'm torn on this myself and wonder what others think.

    2. Does anyone have safety data (or even just opinions) on the Mazda 5? IIHS doesn't list anything at all for this vehicle. NHTSA's most recent results are from 2010, and although the Mazda 5 did well, these results are from the "old" testing system which is described as no longer comparable with the current tests.

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician AK Dad's Avatar
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    Well, I can't speak for the Mazda 5, but I personally am watching those small-overlap tests very, very closely. It's what I love about IIHS - as soon as every manufacturer passes their tests, the up the ante and come up with a new one!
    For me personally, it has made a huge difference in my view of vehicle manufacturers. I used to like Toyota, but based on how spectacularly every Toyota I've seen so far performs in the new test, I've just about written them off. I'm also pretty disappointed in Audi. On the other hand, it has made me like companies like Volvo and Honda that much more. I guess it makes me feel like their engineers aren't just "looking in the back of the book" for the answers, if you know what I mean ...
    As for would it make a difference in my personal buying choice, absolutely. I'm interested to see how the Honda Pilot (that we already have) does in the test ... and how the Ford Flex (that I want to talk my wife into ;-) ) does! I've had a couple of friends recently ask for my recommendation on an SUV, and based on how spectacularly well the Volvo XC70 did, that's my top pick, if only because they haven't tested any others at this point.

  4. #3
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    Some vehicles, especially low volume sellers like the Mazda5, full-size SUVs and luxury models are not tested very quickly. Some very expensive models are not tested at all unless the manufacturer goes the extra mile to have the tests done.

    Consider that even with a result in one test that is sub-standard, most vehicles today are pretty safe overall, especially compared to most cars from 10 years ago. With the advent of side curtain airbags and stability control, plus good performance in most NHTSA and IIHS tests, your family, especially back seat passengers, will be quite safe in almost any newer vehicle. There are always a few exceptions, of course.

    My advice is not to limit yourself to models that get the best ratings in every single test. Instead, at least try to prune out models that have one or more "Marginal", "Poor", "3-star" or lower ratings in one of the IIHS or NHTSA frontal or side impact crash tests. If you're looking at a vehicle with a higher center of gravity like a truck or SUV, then the IIHS roof crush test and NHTSA rollover rating may be important for you also.

    Even models that have a 5-star overall NHTSA rating may have a 3-star rating in one of the individual frontal or side impact tests, so you may want to look closely at those results if performance on every single crash test is important to you. A 3-star rating for the passenger in the NHTSA frontal crash test is as much of a deficiency as a model that has a Marginal rating in one of the IIHS frontal or side impact tests.

    Also, an "Acceptable" result in the small overlap test is still a reasonable result. Consider that the other types of frontal crash tests are considered more common, which is why we haven't had a small overlap test in the past. I might even tolerate a "Marginal" result in this new test, if the vehicle otherwise had good results in the other tests and was otherwise a good match for my needs. Personally, I'd probably look elsewhere if I was looking at a new vehicle with a "Poor" result in any IIHS or NHTSA crash test (excluding the Rear Crash Protection score that isn't actually a crash test). Especially if other models in the same class had better results!

    As for models that haven't been tested in one or more of the tests, that is entirely up to the potential for the individual to have buyer's remorse if a vehicle ends up testing poorly!

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  6. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts. AK Dad, I felt the same way about some of the OEMs and their results -- Honda (and to some extent Subaru) have really risen in my estimation at the expense of Toyota.

    And Darren, I appreciate the additional perspective on interpreting test results. In our case, the lack of test results for the Mazda 5 and the poor performance of the Prius V have complicated our search somewhat since these vehicles are nearly unique in the US market (compact MPV and hybrid wagon) making it difficult to do comparisons within the same class.

    I also try to remind myself that each day that passes is another day in our current car, which doesn't have ESC, so deferring a decision indefinitely is not a great option, either.

  7. #5
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    The Ford C-Max is a direct competitor to the Prius V. I'll have one for review next week and a review will follow within a few months at www.carseatblog.com! It did pretty well in the NHTSA testing, but not tested yet by the IIHS that I know.

    The VW Jetta SportWagen Clean Diesel would be another fuel efficient competitor. It has done well in IIHS testing, but has no result in the new small overlap test yet and no results in the NHTSA tests, either.

  8. #6
    CPS Technician tl01's Avatar
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    The small overlap test does weigh pretty heavily for me. It is one big reason I will likely trade in my 2012 sienna which I'm sure would fail the small overlap test. The 2014 odyssey had specific structural changes for this particular test and I applaud their decision to make these changes so quickly.
    DS 7.5 years 71 lbs FFing in:
    a Frontier90, PWSGL 2013
    DS2 3.5 years 35 lbs FFing in:
    Foonf, Frontier 85, SureRide

  9. #7
    CPS Technician AK Dad's Avatar
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    We rented a C-MAX in Germany back in '06 and thought it was a great car! Glad they've brought it here. Ours was a diesel and we got over 60mpg with it for a lot of the trip.

    Also a big fan of the Jetta TDI which we owned for a while. One caution about it though is the SportWagen is better in many ways than the new Jetta sedan, but it is based on the older body style so likely doesn't have the most up to date crash safety.

  10. #8
    CPS Technician AK Dad's Avatar
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    Quote Originally Posted by cantabdad View Post
    AK Dad, I felt the same way about some of the OEMs and their results -- Honda (and to some extent Subaru) have really risen in my estimation at the expense of Toyota.
    Exactly my thoughts on it - I think it's a window into their respective "corporate cultures" - some of which seem great while others give me pause.

    Quote Originally Posted by tl01 View Post
    The small overlap test does weigh pretty heavily for me. It is one big reason I will likely trade in my 2012 sienna which I'm sure would fail the small overlap test. The 2014 odyssey had specific structural changes for this particular test and I applaud their decision to make these changes so quickly.
    Honda has done a great job of responding quickly to IIHS's results. We have the 2011 Pilot which we bought new before the roof strength test was complete on it. I was disappointed that it ended up getting a "marginal" rating on that, but they fixed it for 2012. That in particular wasn't enough to justify replacing it for me, but the small overlap test seems like it might be a bigger deal. Also, being a gearhead, I'm always looking for excuses to get new cars!

  11. #9
    CPS Technician tl01's Avatar
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Dad View Post
    Exactly my thoughts on it - I think it's a window into their respective "corporate cultures" - some of which seem great while others give me pause.



    Honda has done a great job of responding quickly to IIHS's results. We have the 2011 Pilot which we bought new before the roof strength test was complete on it. I was disappointed that it ended up getting a "marginal" rating on that, but they fixed it for 2012. That in particular wasn't enough to justify replacing it for me, but the small overlap test seems like it might be a bigger deal. Also, being a gearhead, I'm always looking for excuses to get new cars!

    I'm always looking for reasons for new cars too. Drives my DH batty!!
    DS 7.5 years 71 lbs FFing in:
    a Frontier90, PWSGL 2013
    DS2 3.5 years 35 lbs FFing in:
    Foonf, Frontier 85, SureRide

  12. #10
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    I want to bump the OP question about Mazda5 - any safety results or opinions regarding that vehicle (2010 model or later). Thanks!

  13. #11
    Carseat Crazy vermontmoms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Dad View Post
    Well, I can't speak for the Mazda 5, but I personally am watching those small-overlap tests very, very closely. It's what I love about IIHS - as soon as every manufacturer passes their tests, the up the ante and come up with a new one!
    For me personally, it has made a huge difference in my view of vehicle manufacturers. I used to like Toyota, but based on how spectacularly every Toyota I've seen so far performs in the new test, I've just about written them off. I'm also pretty disappointed in Audi. On the other hand, it has made me like companies like Volvo and Honda that much more. I guess it makes me feel like their engineers aren't just "looking in the back of the book" for the answers, if you know what I mean ...
    As for would it make a difference in my personal buying choice, absolutely. I'm interested to see how the Honda Pilot (that we already have) does in the test ... and how the Ford Flex (that I want to talk my wife into ;-) ) does! I've had a couple of friends recently ask for my recommendation on an SUV, and based on how spectacularly well the Volvo XC70 did, that's my top pick, if only because they haven't tested any others at this point.
    We just had to pick and bought the new 2014 Subaru Forester. For the size car the OP is looking at and fuel efficiency to me it is a no brainer when it comes to safety. So far we love our new Forester and it has scored "good" on all crash tests including the IIHS.

  14. #12
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    While the Mazda 5 crash scores aren't available, the '06-'08 5 did show up in a status report with a rather marginal driver death rate of 67, of which 27 were mv, 40 sv, and 40 sv roll. I'd bet money it would do poorly on the roof test, since the actual driver death rates suggest that every single driver who rolled a 5 during those model years died.

  15. #13
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    Quote Originally Posted by loki View Post
    While the Mazda 5 crash scores aren't available, the '06-'08 5 did show up in a status report with a rather marginal driver death rate of 67, of which 27 were mv, 40 sv, and 40 sv roll. I'd bet money it would do poorly on the roof test, since the actual driver death rates suggest that every single driver who rolled a 5 during those model years died.
    It's the original poster here - but I lost track of this thread and did not realize it had been updated. Thank you for the info on the Mazda5. Hopefully those stats would look better now that it is equipped with electronic stability control, but it's hard to say for sure.

    Admittedly the Mazda5 is a lower-volume model, but the almost total absence of any test information from either NHTSA or IIHS is a real problem for a vehicle that is so popular among families.

    For Vermontmoms - thanks for the Forester recommendation. We ended up buying an Outback (very similar) and have been happy with it so far. Very comfy for the family, loads of room for luggage on trips, and gas mileage a little above the EPA rating (about 27 mpg overall so far). I doubt we'll ever take it off-road, but the AWD and ground clearance will probably come in handy some snowy day.

  16. #14
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    Re: IIHS Small Overlap / Mazda 5 data

    You're welcome, cantabdad. Yes, hopefully they do have some actual test data in the next couple of years. Not too long ago, my wife and I were seriously considering the Mazda 5 as our next vehicle.

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