Photo: Mazda

The 2019 Mazda3 is quite the heavy hitter. It looks great, drives wonderfully, offers the enthusiasts a manual option—and now you can even add “safe” to that list of what makes the car Good.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently tested both the Mazda3 hatch and its sedan variant and awarded both its top safety pick award, according to a press release.

To do this, a vehicle has to perform well in the Institute’s driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, the “very difficult” passenger-side small overlap front test, and pass evaluations of the car’s front-crash prevention abilities and headlights.

The 3 sedan got the IIHS’s pick while loaded with the optional front collision prevention system. The hatch, however, earned the award with just its standard equipment, which is impressive. Both cars did well on the passenger-side small overlap front test—earning “good” ratings.

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As for the 3's headlights, the IIHS reports that:

“consumers 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.”

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Only the base-model 3 sedan doesn’t have high-beam assist.

It’s good that the base-model 3s rank just as well as the ones with more options. Just because someone might not be able to afford all of the fancy tech does not mean that their car should be any less safe.

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So, high school parents rejoice: The 3 that you’ll eventually pass down to your teenage driver will be a good first car.