Representing the very latest evolution of Mazda’s proactive safety philosophy, the All-New Mazda3 sees the introduction new active and passive safety technologies alongside existing features, all of which put the driver firmly at the centre of a safety.
However, for all the active safety accident avoidance and mitigation systems at the very heart of the All-New Mazda3 is a body built to protect cabin occupants and pedestrians from injuries should the worse happen. With improvements ranging from an updated body structure to advanced seat design, passive safety is taken to a new-level for a Mazda hatch.
For the All-New Mazda3, the ratio of ultra-high-tensile steel rated 980MPa or higher has been increased from 3% in the previous model to 30% today. It is also the first car in the world to adopt cold-stamped vehicle body parts made of 1,310MPa-grade high-tensile steel, producing a light yet remarkably strong body structure. This lightweight, high-rigidity body design gives the All-New Mazda3 a strong architecture capable of resisting impact and a frame structure that effectively absorbs impact energy, thereby reducing the possibility of injury.
By extending the bumper beam on each end and adding a new perimeter beam, the All-New Mazda3 reduces the force of impact in an offset collision. Upon contact with another vehicle, the perimeter beam effectively guides energy to the load paths, while new paths transmit impact energy towards the rear of the vehicle. In addition, the All-New Mazda3 adopts a bendable front frame structure that takes the brunt of the impact and gradually absorbs the energy.
Cabin deformation is minimised in a side impact by dispersing energy from multiple directions to the front and rear of the vehicle. The door hinge material is made of 780MPa-grade high-tensile steel, and is also thicker. New reinforcements were added to the rear body section and hot-stamped material adopted on the B-pillars. Adding further strength is the new multifaceted cross-section shape of the material used for the B-pillars, side sills and roof. In the event of a collision from behind, the rear side frames of the All-New Mazda3 deform in an accordion-style pattern. This makes it possible to double the level of energy absorption efficiency over the previous model without increasing weight.
Improvements to seat, airbag and seatbelt design has also improved passive safety, for example Mazda’s neck injury mitigating front seats are further evolved to even better prevent whiplash. The seat structure and hardness minimise the amount of movement of the occupant’s head, chest and hips in the event of a collision to reduce the chance of neck injury. Specific measures taken by developers include changes to the support structure for the seat slider and support location for the seat lifter bracket. This increases rigidity so the seat’s side frames absorb energy and minimise the amount of reaction needed to return the seatback to its original position. This reduces the chance of the seat causing injury by pushing the occupant’s head forward.
Additionally, the lower mounts for the front seatbelts are now attached to the seat itself. This reduces the amount of slack and allows them to more quickly restrain the occupant in the event of a collision. It combines with the pretensioner and load limiter, which tighten the seatbelt in the initial moment of a collision and subsequently loosen it in a controlled manner, to quickly and gently restrain the occupant and reduce the chance of injury.
The new generation Mazda3 introduces a knee airbag for the driver’s seat. Included as standard across the range, the new airbag suppresses the forward motion of the driver’s body in the event of a collision, reducing the load that the seatbelt has to bear and contributing to fewer injuries to the driver’s legs, chest and abdomen.
Pedestrian safety was also at the forefront of the development team’s thoughts and the latest Mazda3 has a new bonnet structure that reduces the amount of deformation upon contact and ensures faster energy absorption. This helps to protect a pedestrian’s head in the event of an accident. The All-New Mazda3’s front bumper, too, has been adapted and is designed to control how force is applied upon contact with a pedestrian’s legs. By reducing the impact on the knee area, the structure helps to mitigate injury.
As a core model in the line-up, the Mazda3 has always reflected the latest advances in the company’s vehicle engineering and safety systems and the latest Mazda3 is no exception. Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of advanced safety technologies helps the driver to be aware of and avoid potential hazards. The All-New Mazda3 is equipped with three newly developed active safety features: Driver Attention Alert with camera, Cruising & Traffic Support (CTS) and Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA). All three of these are standard on the range topping GT Sport Tech model, as is a 360 degree view camera and Rear Smart City Brake Support.
The 360 Degree View Monitor uses a camera system that covers all four sides of the vehicle to display the car’s immediate surroundings. It works with four separate 1.3 megapixel cameras with digital signal transmission in order to achieve high-resolution images.
The Driver Attention Alert monitoring technology uses a camera to observe how attentive the driver is behind the wheel. It monitors how wide open the driver’s eyes are at any given time, the number of times they blink and also the angle of the mouth and face and uses this information to assess their level of drowsiness or fatigue. If the system detects that the driver is falling asleep or is unaware of a possible collision with the vehicle in front, it sounds an alert. In conjunction with the Smart Brake Support (SBS) system, it also shortens the time required for the brake warning to sound.
The system applies both an infrared camera and infrared LED to monitor the driver’s condition day and night. It even functions properly when the driver is wearing sunglasses. Mounted within the centre display’s bezel, the camera’s ability to consistently monitor the driver is not affected by actions such as the driver’s hand movements when operating the steering wheel.
Mazda’s newly developed Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA) system detects other vehicles approaching from blind spots and alerts the driver to their presence. New front side radars monitor the left and right front diagonal areas where the driver cannot easily see encroaching vehicles. The system operates when the car is moving forward at speeds of about 6mph or less and helps to prevent a common cause of accidents, cars entering a T-junction with a partially obscured view.
Cruising & Traffic Support (CTS) assists with driving operations and contributes greatly to reducing driver fatigue, fostering a safer and more comfortable driving experience. When the car is stuck in a traffic jam, CTS automatically operates the accelerator and brake pedals to maintain a proper trailing distance between the Mazda3 and the vehicle in front. In addition, it assists with steering operations to keep the car in its proper lane. The steering control is strictly limited to assisting the driver, so CTS will not steer the car on its own if the driver takes their hands off the steering wheel.
In addition to the three new technologies found on GT Sport Tech models, a number of existing active safety technologies have become newly available or updated, meaning the All-New Mazda3 has the most extensive standard safety equipment tally yet seen in a Mazda in this segment. Outside of the GT Sport Tech’s additional six safety pack items, all other active safety systems are standard across the entire range.
Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane-Keep Assist System and Smart City Brake Support Front, to name just a few items, are all standard across the range. While the inclusion of Mazda Radar Cruise Control as standard across the range improves safety and driver convenience.