Wednesday 15 July 2015

MX-5 Roadster ND Safety Features

The NC generation introduced some new safety features for an MX-5 when it launched and continued to do so with the first active bonnets fitted to the later models. The ND follows on from this and takes safety to another level by making use of the latest automotive technology.

As well as an all round stronger bodyshell, the ND has a range of passive and active safety measures, some of which have not been seen before on a Roadster.

Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS)

Becoming a standard feature on many new cars but a first on the new MX-5. The headlights will move slightly as you turn a corner to help illuminate the road better and allow you to spot hazards that bit earlier. The AFS feature is included as standard only on the 1.5 Sport and 2.0 Sport models in the UK, it is not available on lower spec cars. This feature can be switched on and off from with the menus in the Mazda Connect system.

Front & Side Airbags

All cars regardless of specification feature driver and passenger front airbags, and also side impact airbags built into the seats.
Active Bonnet

Also known as the Deployable Hood System (DHS) this feature was first introduced on the later model NC3 cars. It is designed to reduce head injury to pedestrians in a frontal impact.

In the event of such an impact and when travelling above 20 km/h, sensors in the car's front bumper send a signal to a control unit which in turn activates two gas propelled actuators. These actuators fire against a small plate attached to the bonnet on each side which instantly lifts the rear of the bonnet by 120mm.

This action creates a crumple zone above the engine to absorb some of the impact energy with the unfortunate pedestrian. Once activated the system will display a red dashboard warning light and need to be replaced by Mazda as it cannot be re-used. This means a new bonnet, new hinges, new actuators etc and is likely to cost upwards of £1000. The system can also deploy in the event of a flying object such as a wheel trim hitting the front of the car at speed.

Pedestrian Leg Protection

Behind the front bumper there is some additional impact absorbtion material. This is designed to provide some degree of protection to pedestrians against knee and leg injuries in the event of a frontal impact.

Dynamic Stability & Traction Control (DSC) (TCS)

All cars regardless of spec feature anti-lock brakes with an integrated stability and traction control system. These features work with a combination of automatically applying brake pressure and cutting engine power to help the driver maintain control of the car. This system can be switched off if desired using a button on the dashboard.

Automatic Lights & Automatic Wipers

Rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing lights are standard equipment on the 1.5 Sport and 2.0 Sport in the UK, they are not available on lower spec models.

Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

Now required to be fitted on all new cars. The 1.5 SE base model uses regular halogen bulbs, all others in the UK range feature the smarter looking LED light version.

Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror

Only available as standard on the Sport models, this interior mirror senses light and changes the glass tint accordingly. This should help stop you being blinded by a following car's headlights, especially with the MX-5 being quite low on the road.

Rear Parking Sensors

Another feature only available as standard on the Sport models, the rear parking sensors are fitted across the rear bumper. They activate with reverse gear and warn you when you're about to hit another car... or the garage wall.
Heated Power Door Mirrors

These are standard equipment on all cars regardless of spec level. They allow the driver to adjust both mirrors' position easily, and also keep them de-misted for a clear view behind.

Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)

This system is another that is standard on the 1.5 and 2.0 Sport models but not available on the others in the range. Which is not necessarily a bad thing as you'll see. Those cars with the system installed feature a front sensing camera (FSC) unit mounted to the windscreen behind the rear-view mirror. For me this unit is a bit of an ugly distraction from the car's otherwise good looks and once you know it's there it's difficult to ignore.

The system works by actively monitoring the road ahead for white (or yellow) lines and sounding an alarm to the driver if they drift out of a lane. If you indicate to change lane or accelerate to overtake, the system will recognise this as an intentional move and no alarm will sound.
Optional Safety Pack

The Safety Pack is only available as an optional extra for the 2.0 Sport Nav model. In other words you have to buy the Navigation system too. At the time of writing the Safety Pack costs an additional £350 and adds the following features:

Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)

When travelling over 15km/h cars equipped with the blind spot monitoring system actively scan around 50m from the rear of the car to detect approaching vehicles. There are two radar devices mounted in the rear bumper that emit radio waves and detect their reflection back. If a potential hazard is picked up, a warning alarm sounds and an indicator light flashes in the door mirror lens to alert the driver. These special mirrors will be unique to cars equipped with this option.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)

The Blind Spot Monitoring system also comes with this handy feature. With reverse gear engaged, such as when reversing out of a car park space at the supermarket; the radar system will scan around the rear of the car and alert the driver to potential hazards. This could be quite useful given the Roadster's diminutive size if you find yourself parked between two large SUVs.

High Beam Control (HBC)

This system uses the front sensing camera mounted on the windscreen to detect oncoming headlights or upcoming tail lights and adjusts your car's high beam headlights as needed.

Heads Up Cabin

The car's media controls have been designed in such a way that they can be operated without the driver taking their eyes off the road

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Standard on all cars, an emergency puncture repair kit is also included in lieu of a spare wheel. Initially this system was indirect (passive) and operated based on signals from the ABS wheel speed sensors. These kind of TPM systems require manual resets using the TPMS switch on the 6-button dashboard panel. As part of the 2018 revisions, Mazda upgraded this system to use sensors built into each wheel which actively transmit pressure signals wirelessly. Each sensor has a unique transmission ID and needs to be registered to the car's computer before it will work. Details of this procedure can be found in the owner's manual. 2018+ models do not have the TPMS switch as it is not required for the new active system.

Thatcham Cat 1 Alarm & Immobiliser

Standard on all cars.

Emergency Signal System (ESS)

Under heavy braking such as when performing an emergency stop from speed; the ESS will automatically flash the car's hazard lights to further warn cars following behind.

Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

The EBA system monitors the speed and force with which the brake pedal is pressed to detect an emergency stop. The system then automatically applies the maximum safe braking force to assist the driver in bringing the car to a stop as quickly as possible.

Hill Launch Assist (HLA)

When performing a hill start, the HLA system will automatically maintain brake force so that the car doesn't roll back during the time you move your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator. It will hold position for around 2 seconds.