THE Mazda MX-5 will protect pedestrians in an accident better than any other car tested in Australia.
So says the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, or ANCAP to you and me, giving the popular sports car 33.72 points out of 36 for that element of testing.
The two-seater roadster includes an active bonnet which pops up the instant an impact is detected, while the horizontally positioned bonnet frame effectively absorbs impact energy.
In addition, energy-absorbing foam is used in the front bumper beam, while a lower stiffener has been added to the bumper to prevent a pedestrian's legs from sliding under the front of the car.
Overall, the MX-5 received a total score of 35.20 out of 37 to earn a five-star safety rating - good news for the car since the previous model held a four-star ANCAP.
"This is a significant improvement on the model it replaces," said ANCAP chief executive officer, Mr James Goodwin.
"Roadsters present a design challenge for manufacturers in ensuring equivalent levels of occupant protection to conventional cars. Their structures obviously differ, so additional engineering elements are needed in order to provide the same levels of structural safety.
"Not only has the MX-5 performed well in each of the impact tests, this is the highest pedestrian protection score we have seen for any vehicle to date."
Although he was effusive in his praise of the 2016 World Car of the Year and the World Design Car of the Year, he also highlighted the absence of driver assistance technologies one would expect of the car.
"Autonomous emergency braking, active lane support and speed assistance systems are lacking," Mr Goodwin said.
"As a newly-designed model, one that is likely to remain in the market for some time, it is concerning to see these important safety technologies have been overlooked."
Those comments did nothing to spoil the celebrations at Mazda Australia.
"Considerable effort went into making the all-new Mazda MX-5 the safest two-seater sportscar of its type; ANCAP awarding it five stars validates this approach," said Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak.
"Mazda MX-5, from generation to generation, has been held in the highest regard thanks to its ground-breaking design, its even 50:50 weight distribution and fun-to-drive driving dynamics."
The news comes on the back of Mazda's excellent May sales figures (9608), the fifth month this year the manufacturer has set new benchmarks, giving the Japanese brand a 10% share of the market.
The Mazda 3 continues to lead the charge, with some 16,000 units already sold this year alone.
The Mazda CX-3 also enjoyed its best May on record with 1451 finding new homes, while 2117 CX-5's were also sold.
The MX-5 had its best May sales result in its history, with 118 roadsters sold in Australia.
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