Improved safety technology in combination with advanced build quality has ensured that vehicles now are safer than they ever have been in the past. Many new vehicles are seeing standard safety features like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring becoming more common.
Additional safety features like 360-degree surround cameras and adaptive cruise control, previously reserved only for luxury SUVs, are beginning to work their way down to the non-luxury automakers.
Given how popular these vehicles are today and how important safety is to shoppers, we rounded up the safest crossovers and SUVs on the market for 2022 and 2023...check them out!
2022 Ford Bronco Sport
The Ford Bronco Sport starts our list of the safest SUVs on the market right now. It is a crossover SUV unlike its brawnier Bronco brother, but do not let its good table manners fool you. Stellar safety ratings from both the NHTSA and IIHS make it perhaps the safest Ford model available and one of the safest new SUVs you can buy.
Standard safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Available adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and evasive steering assist round out its impressive crash-prevention abilities.
A five-star overall safety rating and an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award follow the Bronco Sport to the dealership. If you do not need the added off-road performance and want better fuel economy, you may want to look to the smaller Chevrolet Trailblazer, another Top Safety Pick+ award winner. Look to the larger Ford Explorer if you want the same IIHS accolade in a larger package.
Browse 2022 Ford Bronco Sport listings here.
2022 Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 does not stand alone as the automaker’s only top safety performer. Its siblings, the smaller 2022 Mazda CX-30, the all-new 2023 Mazda CX-50, and the larger 2022 Mazda CX-9 also come with Top Safety Pick+ awards from the IIHS. The CX-5 also shares its five-star overall NHTSA rating with the CX-30 and CX-9.
With all receiving top safety scores, the CX-5 stands out as the most popular of the bunch. Its standard safety features include automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert. Optional features include adaptive headlights, reverse automatic emergency braking, and a driver attention monitoring system.
If you are looking for small SUVs and want the best combination of performance, styling, and safety, go with the Mazda CX-5 over other top scorers like the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota Corolla Cross. It beats out rivals like the 2022 Honda CR-V, 2022 Ford Escape, and 2023 Kia Sportage, all of which can only muster a Top Safety Pick award with specific headlights equipped.
Browse 2022 Mazda CX-5 listings here.
2022 Volvo XC90
Like Mazda, Volvo makes a host of the safest SUVs available. The 2022 Volvo XC90 is their flagship model. It has received a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS and a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, but it is not alone. The Volvo XC60 and Volvo XC40 follow in their larger sibling’s footsteps with the same safety ratings and awards.
The three-row XC90 comes standard with lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, road sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors, and forward collision warning with both cyclist and pedestrian detection.
That is an impressive list that carries into the plug-in hybrid XC90 Recharge if you are concerned about fuel economy. It gets nearly 20 miles of all-electric range and has the same great safety ratings as the non-hybrid model. Even better, the XC60 Recharge and XC40 Recharge follow suit if you need smaller luxury SUV options.
Browse 2022 Volvo XC90 listings here.
2022/2023 Audi Q5
Audi is yet another automaker that has multiple models with top ratings. The Q5 is Audi’s best-selling model and a great choice for luxury SUV buyers. Its interior styling, comfortable ride, and standard AWD system help set it apart from the stiff competition it faces. Of course, a five-star NHTSA safety rating and an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award also help.
Its standard safety features include lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking. Adaptive cruise control is now standard for 2023 Audi Q5 models. A surround-view camera, a head-up display, and hands-free parking assist are optional.
If you are not content with the regular model, the Audi Q5 Sportback offers the same safety ratings and awards with sportier styling. If gasoline is not your thing but Germany is, you can go with the Audi Q4 e-tron or Q4 e-tron Sportback. It is a comparably sized electric SUV that has also received IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ award. The NHTSA has not yet rated the new Q4.
Browse 2022/2023 Audi Q5 listings here.
2022 Genesis GV70
Another alternative to the Audi Q5 is the Genesis GV70. It is a brand new model for the 2022 model year and is already making a splash. With Hyundai as its parent company, Genesis has put pressure on luxury automakers to up their game. A stunning interior, a lower starting price than many competitors, and top safety ratings make it a great luxury SUV pick.
Although the NHTSA has not yet rated the GV70, its Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS spans all of its trim levels. With standard adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, driver drowsiness monitor, lane-keep assist, safe exit system, and pedestrian detection, we can see why.
For additional peace of mind and more space, the three-row Genesis GV80 has been rated by the NHTSA. It has been given a five-star rating with a Top Safety Pick+ award also coming from the IIHS. The same suite of safety features in the GV70 carries into the GV80, and standard all-wheel drive on both models solidifies them as two of the safest SUVs you can buy.
Browse 2022 Genesis GV70 listings here.
2022 Hyundai Palisade
Both the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride burst onto the scene for the 2020 model year as some of the most well-rounded SUVs on the market. They share the same underpinnings, powertrains, and many of the same features, but it is the Palisade that comes out on top with a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.
2022 Hyundai Palisade models come standard with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, driver drowsiness warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and safe exit assist.
Although the Kia Telluride has most of the same safety features, it falls behind the Palisade with its inferior headlight ratings. It still earns a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. The smaller Hyundai Santa Fe also earns a Top Safety Pick+ but only on vehicles built after July of 2021 despite only earning four-out-of-five overall stars from the NHTSA.
Browse 2022 Hyundai Palisade listings here.
2022/2023 Nissan Murano
The Nissan Murano is just one of several safe Nissan SUVs. Both 2022 and 2023 models have earned a perfect five-star rating from the NHTSA, regardless of whether front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is equipped. 2022 models come with a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS.
Standard safety features like lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention monitoring, and both forward and reverse automatic emergency braking help it achieve its safety honors.
If you are not a fan of the Murano’s polarizing styling, you can go with the smaller 2022 Nissan Rogue or larger three-row 2022 or 2023 Nissan Pathfinder instead. Both alternative models have also received IIHS’ coveted top safety award. According to the NHTSA, the Murano earns superior scores to both Pathfinder and Rogue models.
Browse 2022/2023 Nissan Murano listings here.
2022/2023 Volkswagen ID.4
The Volkswagen ID.4 is one of the more expensive compact electric SUVs, it is also one of the safest. It has earned five-out-of-five stars overall from the NHTSA and has earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award. Both the 2022 and 2023 models have the same high safety ratings.
Thanks to its standard forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, pedestrian detection, highway driving assist system, and front and rear parking sensors, it has all the safety tech you would expect from a futuristic electric vehicle.
Unfortunately, the infotainment and HVAC systems lack physical knobs, a complaint on several vehicles in the past. If you want a more conventional vehicle with a less futuristic feeling interior, you can choose the 2022 or 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan. It too received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, but the NHTSA’s side crash test results found the driver’s door to open during their testing.
Browse 2022/2023 Volkswagen ID.4 listings here.
2022 Acura MDX
Even though the Acura MDX shares a platform with the Honda Pilot, it is more luxurious and safer than its corporate cousin. The NHTSA has only rated front-wheel drive MDX models but has given them a five-star rating. The IIHS has awarded the 2022 MDX a Top Safety Pick+ award.
The three-row MDX comes standard with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, a driver drowsiness monitoring system, pedestrian detection, and road departure mitigation. A head-up display and a surround-view parking camera are both optional, as is all-wheel drive.
If you like the MDX’s comfortable interior, styling, and the automaker’s entry-level luxury credentials, but you also want something smaller and more affordable, you should go with the Acura RDX. It is the MDX’s little brother, but it also comes with an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation. It beats out its compact corporate cousin, the Honda CR-V, as it only earns an IIHS Top Safety Pick when equipped with the proper headlights.
Browse 2022 Acura MDX listings here.
2022 Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander is on the small side of three-row crossover SUVs, but it does many things well. Not only is it attractive inside and outside, but it can also deliver you and your family to and from any location with reliability and safety. This assurance is backed by a five-star overall NHTSA safety rating and a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.
Even though blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are not available on base model Highlanders, its least expensive trim level still benefits from automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, lane tracing, automatic high beams, pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert come standard on the LE trim level, one up from the base model.
Even though the Highlander scores a spot on our list, the Toyota Corollas Cross, Toyota RAV4, and Toyota RAV4 Prime earn the same high ratings. The Toyota CH-R and Toyota Venza are safe choices as well with IIHS Top Safety Pick designations, but you do have to choose the correct headlights to get there.
Browse 2022 Toyota Highlander listings here.
2022 Tesla Model Y
Despite Tesla’s reputation for making some of the most well-known electric vehicles, buyers have reported some issues with build quality and reliability. This has seemingly not stopped consumers from wanting the Model Y electric SUV, and fortunately, it is potentially the safest vehicle on this list.
The NHTSA has given it five stars across the board in its crash test ratings, including in the rollover test. An IIHS Top Safety Pick+ is also in the cards thanks to its standard adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and autopilot features.
There are few other Tesla models of which to speak on our list, but with their popularity rising year-over-year, high safety scores are a great thing about which to brag.
Browse 2022 Tesla Model Y listings here.
2022 Subaru Ascent
Subaru has been known for its safe vehicles for years. Each model’s standard Symmetrical AWD system already helps drivers in poor weather. The Ascent, in particular, lands on our list for its five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and because of its Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.
All Ascent models come standard with adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, lane centering, automatic high beams, steering-sensitive headlights, and a rear-seat reminder system. Non-base trim levels up their game even more by adding a lane-change assist system, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
As Subaru’s only three-row SUV, it is a gentle giant. If that is too much for you, though, you can look to smaller models in their lineup like the Subaru Forester or Subaru Outback for matching safety scores and IIHS awards.
Browse 2022 Subaru Ascent listings here.
2022 Lexus NX
Several Lexus crossovers like the Lexus UX and Lexus RX have earned IIHS Top Safety Pick awards, given that they are equipped with the correct headlights. Though the 2022 Lexus NX and Lexus NX plug-in hybrid have not been given safety scores from the NHTSA, they have both been given Top Safety Pick+ awards by the IIHS, regardless of the trim level you choose.
Fresh off of a full redesign for the 2022 model year, each trim level comes equipped with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and pedestrian detection. You can have a head-up display, a surround-view camera, and adaptive headlights on non-base trim levels.
All-wheel drive is a $1,600 option on each trim level of the non-hybrid NX while the hybrid and PHEV models utilize three electric motors to give them both standard all-wheel drive. The result is great fuel economy while you drive safely to wherever you need to go.
Browse 2022 Lexus NX listings here.
2022/2023 Cadillac XT6
The Cadillac XT6 is designed to fight the luxury offerings of German, Swedish, and Japanese automakers, and it does that well on the safety side of things. It has earned an overall rating of five-out-of-five stars from the NHTSA and an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation, the only Cadillac SUV model to do so.
Standard features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, driver attention monitor, vibrating safety seat, and Teen Driver system help it earn its high honors. You can even have a night vision camera, Super Cruise, and rear collision warning on non-base trim levels.
It goes head-to-head with the other midsize luxury SUVs like the similarly sized BMW X5 and the smaller Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. Both German choices are more luxurious and can also be spotted on the list of IIHS safety award winners, but both get there with additional stipulations.
Browse 2022/2023 Cadillac XT6 listings here.
2022/2023 Audi Q8
The Audi Q8 is another midsize luxury crossover SUV that deserves a spot on our list for its high safety scores. Like many other Audi models on the list, both the 2022 and 2023 models have earned IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards. The NHTSA has not fully rated the Q8 for either the 2022 or 2023 model year.
Automatic high beams, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, and parking sensors on all four corners of the vehicle round out the standard safety technology on each Q8 model. Its standard all-wheel drive also helps.
Given that the Q8 does not get the best fuel economy, you may want to look to the Audi e-tron or Audi e-tron Sportback as alternatives if you are mindful of fuel savings. The e-tron is Audi’s similarly sized electric SUV that has earned similar safety scores to the Q8.
Browse 2022/2023 Audi Q8 listings here.
The two premier entities that dictate each vehicle’s safety rating are the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration.
Even though both operate independently of each other, a high safety rating from each means that a vehicle is exceptionally safe.
IIHS Ratings: What Do They Mean?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS for short, is an independent organization that rates vehicles’ safety based on various crash tests from different angles. They also rate roof strength, head restraints, LATCH child seat systems, seats, headlight performance, and front crash prevention systems.
Rather than a numerical system, they rate vehicles based on descriptors. Poor is the lowest rating, marginal is the second lowest rating, acceptable is the second highest rating, and good is the best rating. Vehicles that perform exceptionally well in their testing results receive the IIHS Top Safety Pick award while vehicles that perform the best receive the highest Top Safety Pick+ award.
Two of the same vehicles can have different safety ratings or be given different safety awards according to optional safety features that may be equipped or headlight type based on trim level.
NHTSA Ratings: What Do They Mean?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA for short, is a division of the United States Department of Transportation. They rate vehicles based on crash tests they perform as well as child car seat ease of use and tires.
Their rating system is a little simpler than IIHS’ system and is more straightforward to understand. They rate vehicles based on a frontal crash test, side barrier crash test, side pole crash test, and rollover resistance test. Ratings for each range from one star to five stars with five being the best. Each vehicle is then given an overall rating using the same five-star system.
They also have a recommended driver assistance technologies list that currently includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera system. All of their ratings have been updated in recent years to accommodate evolving safety technologies and increased standard safety features.
Two of the same vehicles can have different safety ratings based on powertrain options. A front-wheel drive SUV may therefore have a slightly different safety rating than the same model equipped with four or all-wheel drive.