On sale now at Mazda dealerships, the 2016 CX-3 received the award due to "good crashworthiness ratings across the board and an optional front-crash prevention system with a superior rating," the Institute said in a statement on Thursday.
In track tests at 12 mph, the CX-3 with the front-crash prevention system avoided a collision. In tests at 25 mph, the impact speed was cut by an average of 23 mph.
Standard safety equipment on the 2016 CX-3 includes six airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control and a rearview camera.
A blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on the CX-3 Touring and Grand Touring models.
A Smart Brake support system with collision warning is optional.
The 2016 CX-3 also earned the highest five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers should note that the 2016 Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and Nissan Juke did not win the Top Safety Pick+ award.