The All New Mazda MX-5 | Part Five

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

Passive Safety Features

The new MX-5’s rigid unibody design uses the Mazda Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption system to meet and exceed government collision standards. Occupant protection from injury as a result of front, side, and rear impacts from various angles is provided and its safety performance is excellent. The windshield pillars and front frame use high-strength steel sheet and ultra-high-strength steel sheet to further reinforce body stiffness.

Front collision performance: The compact body is designed to withstand both full wrap and offset collisions. To efficiently absorbs collision energy in the short crushable zone, the crash cans and front frame employ octagonal section high-strength steel sheet, increasing the energy absorption volume while also contributing to weight loss. Additionally, to suppress cabin deformation in an offset collision, the energy impacting on the front frame is distributed in three directions into a three-pronged structure in front of the cabin.

Side impact performance: Body floor cross-members are elongated and door impact bars are optimized in a collision energy absorption and distribution structure, minimizing deformation of the car body. In addition to suppressing body deformation, impact absorbing structures in the door trim and a new side air bag system (availability differs with the markets) cushion impacts to occupants.

Driver and passenger seat belt restraints are equipped with locking retractors with automatic pretensioners that tighten the belt immediately after a moderate frontal collision and load limiters that meter out some belt in stages to reduce the load on the occupant.

The new steering-wheel-mounted supplemental restraint system (SRS) air bag emerges from its storage container in the shape of a doughnut but quickly swells to surround the center horn button to guard the driver’s head and torso from impact forces. In certain markets, the passenger-side air bag has a seat-mounted passenger weight detector to change the air bag function according to the occupant’s weight. An off switch disables this function when desired, such as when a small passenger in rear-facing safety seat is being transported.

Newly developed seat-mounted side air bags are standard or optional equipment in all markets. An inflator inflates two chambers in each bag to provide both additional torso and head protection from side-collision injury. The firmness engineered for the larger head air bag is purposely higher than that specified for the smaller torso restraint. A check valve located between the two volumes helps keep the head restraint inflated for a longer period of time.

Instead of collapsing along its axis, the steering column moves in a horizontal direction when loaded by the driver’s weight to minimize the likelihood of head and chest injury. Crashable brake pedals are prevented from crushing back into the feet so they’re less likely to inflict lower-leg injuries. Seats and headrests help resist neck injuries caused by low-speed rear impacts.

A special Shock Cone inner hood panel - technology introduced on Mazda’s RX-8 rotary-powered flagship - greatly reduces the chance of pedestrian injury by safely absorbing head-impact energy. Front strut towers are braced to the cowl instead of to each other to provide extra space for energy dissipation. In addition, there is a large volume of energy absorbing material behind the front bumper to lower the risk of knee injury during a pedestrian impact.

Thanks to this major emphasis on active, passive, and pedestrian protection, the new MX-5 is one of the most safety conscious sports cars on the market.

Security Features

To minimize the chance of theft, the MX-5 has a standard immobilizer system to prevent starting the engine without the proper ignition key. The key contains a transponder which communicates with the lock cylinder to signal a controller that it’s OK to energize cranking, ignition, and fuel delivery systems.

An Advanced Keyless System that is optional in some markets permits starting and stopping the engine, unlocking the steering wheel, locking and unlocking the doors and unlocking the decklid simply by carrying the card-type key along in a pocket. Buttons are also provided to lock and unlock the doors and to unlock the decklid from a remote location.

MX-5's destined for sale in some markets are equipped with an anti-theft system that triggers an alarm if the vehicle is tampered with (availability differs with markets). A backup battery keeps the alarm active when the main battery is disconnected.

As a security measure for when the top is off, the boot is equipped with a canceling mechanism (availability differs with markets). When the switch is off, the boot lock cannot be released unless the keyless entry system or master key is operated.

By combining a host of new ideas and technologies with the finest aspects of the original MX-5, Mazda has given the classic lightweight sports car a fresh lease on life for the 21st century.

As the purest expression of the Zoom-Zoom spirit, the MX-5 is Mazda's latest and best gift to its growing worldwide constituency of driving enthusiasts.

Published 28 June 2005 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Mazda MX-5 news article may have changed since publication on the 28 June 2005. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Mazda dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018