2014 Mazda CX-5: Smart City Brake Support
April 25, 2013
Our long-term 2014 Mazda CX-5 is the Grand Touring trim level and is equipped with the optional Technology package. Among well-known features like a navigation system and xenon headlights, the Technology also adds an unusual safety feature for this vehicle segment: Smart City Brake Support.
Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) is Mazda's new collision mitigation/avoidance system that operates at low vehicle speeds. In that sense, it's quite similar to the "City Safety" system that Volvo has been installing on its vehicles for a few years now.
By utilizing a laser-based sensor mounted in the rear-view mirror housing (pointing forwards through the windshield), SCBS monitors vehicles that are a short distance ahead of the Mazda CX-5. At low speeds, SCBS can reduce the damage in the event of a collision by automatically applying the CX-5's brakes when the sensor determines that a collision with the vehicle ahead is unavoidable.
According to the owner's manual, Smart City Brake Support is active from about 2 to 18 mph. It's capable of completely avoiding an accident between the CX-5 and a vehicle ahead if the relative speed between them is less than 9.3 mph.
There are all sorts of disclaimers in the owner's manual for when SCBS might not work (incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists being the most notable). Still, I happen to think safety features like this are pretty neat. While SCBS won't ever stop a Mazda CX-5 driver from committing a major rear-end accident, it could minimize or even stop a low-speed fender-bender in traffic.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,283 miles