The 2019 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback (shown) have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick. 
 -  Photo courtesy of Mazda.

The 2019 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback (shown) have earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Photo courtesy of Mazda.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently awarded the 2019 Mazda3 hatchback and sedan with its Top Safety Pick. While the hatchback captures the award with standard equipment, the sedan qualifies only when equipped with an optional front crash prevention system.

IIHS engineers put the two redesigned cars through the paces. To earn Top Safety Pick status, they needed to score good ratings in a series of crashworthiness tests. These include the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. They were also charged with scoring a good or acceptable rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

Both the hatchback and the sedan lived up to the criterion — scoring good ratings across the board, including on the passenger-side small overlap front test, a first-time evaluation for both models.

But testing doesn't stop there. For Top Safety Pick status, IIHS demands that vehicles earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good or acceptable headlight rating.

Here again, both Mazda 3s met the safety standard. The 2019 hatchback comes with a standard superior-rated front crash prevention system. The sedan is available with an optional superior-rated system. Both cars avoided collisions in 12 mph and 25 mph IIHS track tests.

Finally, the cars' headlights fulfilled the Institute's benchmarks. The hatchback and sedan earned acceptable ratings for all available headlight options, meaning drivers can expect similar headlight performance on the base models and premium trim lines. All available headlight options are LED projectors, and all but one feature high-beam assist, a system that automatically switches between high beams and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles.