When Mazda released the latest CX-9, they claimed the SUV featured luxury, safety and affordability ahead of its competitors. They weren’t wrong – and its advanced safety features in particular have earned it the AMI NZ Autocar Car of the Year Safety Award.
AMI vehicle assessor Mark Puskulic was on the judging panel for the Car of the Year awards, and was blown away by the safety implementations going into cars these days. “Drivers can now find technology on affordable family vehicles that was only available on top end models two years ago. The Mazda CX9 is a great example of this, combining an ANCAP 5 Star safety rating with other safety features such as lane departure warning, driver attention alert, blind spot monitoring and autonomous braking (to name a few), all in a new car that costs less than $60,000.”
But what do these features mean? And what do they do? The suite of safety tech in new Mazdas is called i-ActivSense, which means the car is packed with sensors and computers that work together to keep the car on the road and prevent accidents – by itself.
Lane departure warning – the car detects where the lines of the road are, and sounds an alarm warning of imminent and unintentional lane departure.
Smart city brake support – when driving at low speeds (around 4-30 kph), a laser detects cars in front and warns of imminent collision, preparing the brake system to deliver maximum stopping power. If the driver does not act in time, the car automatically applies the brakes and reduces the engine power to avoid or reduce collision.
Mazda Radar Cruise Control – like usual cruise control, the car maintains a constant speed but also uses radar to sense and display the distance to the car in front, and adjusts the car’s speed to maintain a safe following distance.
Blind spot monitoring and rear vehicle monitoring system – sensors in the back of the car monitors cars approaching from the rear, warning the driver if there’s danger of collision, as well as if there’s cars coming while the driver is reversing.
Driver attention alert – At speeds over 65 kph, the car will “learn” the driver’s habits, and typical vehicle behaviour. If the system detects changes that suggest the driver is losing focus or becoming fatigued, the car will suggest a rest stop.
All of these, along with seven seats, all wheel drive, Nappa leather and rosewood trim – this car is an all-in-one package at an affordable price. It even has other cool tech such as an infotainment system that can be controlled by touch, voice control or via the steering wheel, a Bose 12 speaker surround sound system and USB chargers for those in the second row of seats.
Above all, we’re avid fans of safe cars and safe drivers. This is the second time the Safety Award has been given out at the Autocar Car of the Year awards; the first was won by the Volvo XC90.
“We believe that by raising awareness of road safety and rewarding the brands that invest in vehicle safety is something that we can do to make New Zealand a safer place” says AMI GM of Customer Value Propositions Alex Geale.
“Most importantly, New Zealanders need to choose the safest car they can afford, use the safety technology they have, and do their part by concentrating and being attentive every time they get behind the wheel.”