What Is Mazda's i-Activsense System?

Mazda's driver-assistance technology can help keep folks safer on the road.

Red 2023 Mazda CX-30 parked outside fancy home with a gateMazda

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Most automakers offer advanced driver-assistance systems on their cars, SUVs, and trucks. While not meant to replace attentive driving, these systems can help owners stay focused and can mitigate crashes. Mazda calls its suite of safety systems i-Activsense, and it's available across the lineup in some form or another.

The i-Activsense suite came to market about a decade ago and has been evolving ever since. The inclusion of i-Activsense has helped the 2023 Mazda3, and CX-30, CX-50, CX-5, and CX-9 crossovers earn Top Safety Pick ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

What Are the Main Features of i-Activsense?

Although not every model has every i-Activsense feature, every Mazda comes with some form of what the company calls Smart Brake Support. As the technology has advanced, Mazda has given it different names, such as Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection or Smart Brake Support with Collision Warning. The systems prime the brakes for maximum stopping power and will slow the car to mitigate a forward crash if the driver does nothing.

All models also get lane-departure warning, which gives audible and visual alerts and vibrates the steering wheel if the driver veers from a marked lane. Some models have more advanced lane-keep assist technology that gently guides the car back into the proper lane. Blind-spot monitoring is another common, though not standard, feature that warns drivers of a car in their blind spot when a turn signal is activated. The CX-50 goes one step further and can apply steering to prevent a blind-spot accident with its available blind-spot assist feature.

Most Mazdas now include adaptive cruise control which can follow a lead car at a set distance and bring the vehicle to a complete stop. Some upper trims of a few models get the more advanced Traffic Jam Assist capability, which adds a lane-following function at slower speeds.

Other i-Activsense features you'll find on some Mazdas include rear cross-traffic alert, which detects vehicles approaching from the right or left and gives visual and audible warnings if a collision is imminent. Some models also have automatic rear braking to apply the brakes in this situation or when backing up toward a wall or other object.

Will i-Activsense Allow For Self-Driving?

As a whole, i-Activsense is not an autonomous system. Drivers must keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times. Mazda's i-Activsense is a tool that gives drivers more information and assistance as they pilot their cars in everyday situations.

How Much Does i-Activsense Cost?

Mazda doesn't bundle its i-Activsense features into one package. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any kind of standard across the lineup. Some models, like the CX-5 and CX-9, feature blind-spot monitoring standard on the lowest trim, while on the Mazda3 you have to jump up to the mid-level Select trim.

However, if you start with the new CX-50 in base trim for around $29,000, you'll get blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. The top Turbo Premium Plus trim goes for about $44,000 and adds automatic rear braking and a few other goodies.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Emme Hall
Emme Hall loves small convertibles and gets out to the canyons in her 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata whenever she can. You can also find her in the dirt in her lifted (yes, that's right) 2001 Mazda Miata, or racing air-cooled Volkswagens in races like the Baja 1000. She's taken first place twice in the Rebelle Rally — once driving a Jeep Wrangler and then a Rolls-Royce Cullinan the second time. She was also the first driver to take an electric vehicle to the Rebelle Rally when campaigning the Rivian R1T to a top-five finish