Safest SUVs

16 minute read Published on Jan 7, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Mom and dad holding their child and sitting on the back of their SUV

If you’re thinking about purchasing a new sport utility vehicle (SUV), there are many factors that you must consider. Price is one of the most important ones, as many people are on a budget. However, safety is another factor that is equally important. You want to know that the SUV you purchase will protect you in the event of a collision, or even help you avoid a collision altogether. BrokerLink has already made a list of the most reliable electric cars and the most reliable car brands in Canada, but now we’re putting together a list of the safest SUVs in the country. Continue reading to learn more.

What are safety ratings for SUVs?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Canada is the organization responsible for assigning a safety rating to all makes and models of vehicles in the country, and that includes SUVs. These safety ratings are essentially scores that indicate how safe a car is to drive.

More accurately, they inform a driver of how well a certain vehicle will be able to avoid a collision altogether, as well as how effectively the vehicle will protect the occupants of the vehicle should it be involved in a collision.

The three types of SUV safety ratings in Canada

Canada has three primary safety ratings for automobiles in the country. The safety rating assigned by the IIHS is the main safety rating, though there are a few others to be aware of. When shopping for SUVs, be sure to research the following safety ratings for the vehicles you’re interested in:

IIHS safety rating

IIHS car safety ratings are listed as colours. Each colour corresponds with a specific rating on the scale they’ve created. Colour ratings range from poor or basic to good or superior.

National safety mark

The national safety mark is another type of car safety rating used in Canada. There is no scale with the national safety mark. Rather, a vehicle will receive it so long as it complies with Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) in Canada, another indication that a vehicle is safe to drive.

NHTSA rating

Lastly, the NHTSA is an American organization that rates vehicles according to a five-star rating system, with five being the safest and one being the least safe.

What makes an SUV safe to drive in Canada?

For the IIHS to assign a high safety rating to an automobile, such as an SUV, that automobile must meet the following criteria:

  • A good rating in driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.
  • An acceptable or good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test.
  • An advanced or superior rating in the front crash prevention test.
  • An acceptable or good in the headlight rating.

Where to find an SUV’s safety rating

To find a safety rating for a particular SUV, either one you already own or one you are considering buying, visit the IIHS’s website. Their intuitive website allows users to enter the details of their vehicle, like the year, make, and model. From there, you can review an entire safety profile on your vehicle, including its overall rating, as well as how it performed in specific types of safety tests.

The importance of safety when buying an SUV

Safety should be one of the main factors you consider anytime you’re thinking about purchasing a new car. Why? Due to the fact that automobile incidents can be extremely dangerous, leading to bodily harm and even death.

Thus, if you can reduce the odds of being injured or dying in a car accident, why wouldn’t you do so? One way to do so, beyond driving responsibly and obeying the rules of the road, is to purchase a car with a high safety rating.

As you now know, vehicles with high safety ratings are less likely to get into accidents in the first place, and if they are involved in accidents, the occupants are more likely to be protected. The most important reason that vehicle safety matters is that it can protect drivers and passengers from bodily harm.

Another benefit that comes with choosing a safe SUV is that your SUV insurance premium may be lower for doing so. Insurance companies will consider the safety and reliability of the vehicle you drive when calculating your rates. If you drive an SUV with a high safety rating, you may be more likely to enjoy a lower premium.

A list of the safest SUVS in Canada

By now, you probably have a better understanding of what safety ratings mean and why they’re important. So, without further ado, we’ve put together a list of the safest SUVs in Canada. You can also find a list of the safest cars in Canada on our blog:

Acura RDX

The Acura RDX is considered an extremely safe and reliable SUV. It performed well in multiple crash tests, as well as in tests evaluating crash avoidance and mitigation.

Audi Q4 e-tron

The Audi Q4 e-tron is another SUV worth considering if you prioritize safety. Like the Acura RDX, this electric SUV from German automaker Audi also received top marks in the IIHS’s crash tests, crash avoidance, and mitigation testing.


The BMW X1 got a major upgrade in 2023, and it now makes the list of the safest SUVs in Canada. This SUV now features automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Genesis GV60

Further, the Genesis GV60, an all-electric SUV, is another vehicle known for its safety. This SUV has a wide range of notable safety features, including but not limited to pedestrian, cyclist, and junction-turning detection, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear-seat alert, and safe-exit assist.

Genesis GV70

The larger version of the Genesis GB60, the Genesis GB70, also makes the list of the safest SUVs in Canada. It has many of the same cutting-edge safety features as the GV60, such as front and rear parking sensors, rear-seat alert, park assist, reverse collision warning, pedestrian detection, and stop-and-go adaptive cruise control.

Honda CR-V

The 2023 Honda CR-V comes with all kinds of modern safety features that make it one of the safest SUVs on the market today. Such features include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Honda HR-V

A second Honda model makes this list - the 2023 Honda HR-V. This SUV comes with an entire suite of safety features that the auto manufacturer has become known for, including but not limited to automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Hyundai Palisade

The latest version of the Hyundai Palisade is another SUV worth considering if you want something safe. This SUV features Hyundai’s SmartSense technology, with features ranging from lane keep assist and lane centring to blind spot monitoring.

Infiniti QX60

The 2023 Infiniti QX60 combines both luxury and safety. Packed into this mid-sized SUV are all kinds of advanced safety technology, such as front and rear automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2023 model of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a family-friendly SUV that earns top safety marks, whether you plan to drive it in urban areas or enjoy a day of off-road adventuring. This vehicle performed well in crash avoidance and mitigation, earning a superior rating from the IIHS.

Tesla Model Y

The 2023 Tesla Model Y is another all-electric SUV to make this list. Not only does this Tesla SUV offer a range of up to 330 miles, but it comes with a variety of safety features, including lane keep assist, speed assist, and collision avoidance assist.

Toyota Highlander

The 2023 Toyota Highlander earned top marks for safety, which won’t come as a huge surprise given the reputation of the Japanese automaker. Specifically, the Highlander received a superior rating for front crash prevention, as well as high marks in other crash tests conducted by the IIHS. Every 2023 Toyota Highlander comes equipped with a range of standard safety features, including forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control with steering assistance.

Volkswagen ID.4

The Volkswagen ID.4 is yet another all-electric SUV that tops the list of the safest SUVs in Canada. The German brand is known for its safety, and the ID.4 is no exception, with notable safety features including lane keep assist, emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and travel assist. It is worth noting that the Volkswagen ID.4 also offers a range of up to 275 miles.

Volvo XC90

Last but not least is the Volvo XC90. Given Volvo’s reputation in the world of safety, it’s no surprise that their latest SUV earned top marks across the board from the IIHS. This luxury, mid-size SUV offers forward collision warning, high beam assist, seat belt warning, child locks, automatic emergency braking, and anchor points for car seats.

What are the different types of SUV safety features?

To help you understand just how various features make an SUV safer to drive, we outline some of the most common safety features in vehicles, many of which were mentioned above:

Lane departure warning

Lane departure warning is one of the most common safety features you will see in modern SUVs. This feature alerts a driver when they are driving on a lane marker or have crossed a lane marker without turning their signal on. How this feature works is a front-facing camera that is located on the windshield of the car detects and identifies the placement of the lane markers, and when your SUV crosses on, it activates an audible, visual, or tactile alert to let the driver know.

Lane keep assist

Lane keep assist is a step up from lane departure warning in that when your SUV crosses over into another lane without your indicator being turned on, the vehicle will automatically nudge you back into your lane. This is a form of steering assist, with the purpose of helping drivers avoid accidentally driving outside of their lane.

Collision warning and blind spot monitoring

Collision warning and blind spot monitoring are safety systems that work together. The goal of these types of systems is to prevent collisions by making the driver aware of approaching vehicles, especially those that might be hidden in a car’s blind spot. With collision warning and blind spot monitoring, the vehicle sends an audible, visual, or tactile alert to the driver when there is a car nearby, whether that car is in front, in the rear, or to either side.

The most advanced versions of these systems are connected to the brakes in your car. These brakes will kick in known as automatic emergency braking when the vehicle senses that you are too close to the vehicle in front of you. Since accidents can be dangerous and accidents affect car insurance rates, it’s best to keep collisions to a minimum, and collision warning and blind spot monitoring can help you do so.

Adaptive cruise control

Adaptive cruise control is a great safety feature to have in your SUV, especially if you frequently drive on highways or take road trips. This feature works in conjunction with the anti-lock brakes in your car, another standard feature of modern cars. How adaptive cruise control works is like this: your car contains sensors that detect when traffic has slowed down or when you have switched lanes to overtake another car.

When the sensors detect either of these situations, the car will speed up or slow down by activating the gas or brake pedals whichever is applicable, without the driver having to modify or turn off cruise control. This makes for seamless highway driving.

Automatic and adaptive headlights

Automatic and adaptive headlight systems, such as automatic high beams, make it easier and safer to drive at night. These types of headlights will automatically turn on when it gets dark. Meanwhile, adaptive headlights will adjust themselves according to the shape of the road you are driving on. For example, if you are driving on a windy road, adaptive headlights will bend to increase visibility.


Next, airbags are the original safety technology. You won’t find an automobile without them in the 21st century. While they are nothing new, they are still worth talking about given the airbag advancements that have been made in the past few decades. Nowadays, most cars not only have front airbags, they also have side airbags.

Plus, airbag technology has developed to the point that they are now much safer and offer better protection than ever before. Airbags are deployed when the car experiences a certain amount of force. These safety features are able to deploy extremely quickly in a fraction of a second to cushion the blow in a collision.

Rearview camera

Further, rearview cameras, like airbags, have now become standard in all modern vehicles. Rearview cameras help eliminate blind spots when in reverse, making it safer to back up.

Anti-theft device

Anti-theft devices, while not a built-in safety feature in vehicles, is another feature that can make your SUV safer to drive. There are all kinds of anti-theft devices out there. Some have audible alarms while others offer GPS tracking.

No matter which you choose, installing an anti-theft device in your car can keep it safe from being stolen. If a thief were to succeed in stealing it, you could use the anti-theft device’s GPS tracking capabilities to track down your vehicle’s whereabouts.

That said, in most cases, the presence of an anti-theft device in a car is enough to deter a thief from stealing or attempting to steal your car in the first place. Since anti-theft devices make vehicles safer, many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who outfit their cars with them.

So if you want to save money on your Toronto car insurance policy, contact BrokerLink to learn more about anti-theft discounts. You can also request a free SUV insurance quote from BrokerLink to get an idea of how installing an anti-theft device in your car could lower your rates.

The #1 safety feature? Safe driving habits

At the end of the day, what is more important than driving a safe vehicle is practicing safe driving habits. Contact BrokerLink for an extensive list of safe driving tips to ensure you stay as safe as possible when driving. The key to avoiding collisions and other road incidents is to drive defensively and obey all traffic laws in your province, including speed limits.

The good news is that you will be rewarded for your safe driving habits in more ways than one. Not only does driving responsibly help you avoid the dangerous reality of a collision but doing so could also result in cheaper car insurance rates.

Many insurance companies offer safe driver discounts to those who demonstrate good driving habits as evidenced by a clean driving record for a number of consecutive years. Reach out to BrokerLink to learn more about how safe driver discounts work and what conditions need to be met in order to qualify.

How an SUV’s safety rating affects car insurance premiums

The reality is that driving an SUV with a high safety rating may not only reduce your odds of being involved in an accident but it can also bring your car insurance rates down. When calculating your premium, an insurance agent will ask for the make and model of the vehicle you drive.

The purpose of this is, in part, to determine how safe and reliable your vehicle is considered to be. Thus, an insurer will research the IIHS’s safety rating for your vehicle when determining your rates. The higher the safety rating of the SUV you drive, the lower your rates may be, especially if the SUV achieved high scores in collision avoidance and mitigation.

The reason that your rates could be lower if your SUV is safer to drive is that you might be less likely to get into an accident, which makes you less likely to file an insurance claim. As a result, you will be considered a lower risk policyholder, and low risk policyholders often benefit from cheaper premiums.

Further, if you do find yourself in an accident, an SUV with a high safety rating is likely to protect you better than a vehicle with a low safety rating, which could result in less severe injury. Finally, if you add comprehensive coverage to your policy, driving a safe car might reduce the odds of it being stolen since many of these cars include state-of-the-art safety features that make them harder to steal.

Given all of these reasons, it makes sense that SUV insurance premiums might be lower for vehicles with high safety ratings. If you need help determining what types of auto insurance are for you or want to know what mistakes to avoid when buying insurance, contact BrokerLink today.

What does SUV insurance look like?

There are a few types of insurance you will need to buy as an SUV driver, whether you purchase an SUV with a high safety rating or not. Car insurance requirements vary between provinces. In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, mandatory coverage looks like this:

Keep yourself safe with mandatory SUV coverage

To give you a better idea of how mandatory SUV insurance in Ontario can protect you, we describe each type of coverage below:

Third party liability coverage

Third party liability car insurance is a type of coverage designed to cover at-fault accidents. If a policyholder is found to be liable for an accident, they can file a liability insurance claim to cover the costs of the accident. Types of costs that liability insurance may pay for include legal fees, medical fees, and property damage repair costs.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits coverage is designed to pay for the cost of medical attention if someone is injured in a collision. For example, if you, a passenger, or a pedestrian suffers bodily harm in a car accident, you can file an accident benefits claim to receive compensation for medical fees, such as to cover the cost of physical therapy, rehabilitation, or prescription medication. Accident benefits may also cover lost income due to an injury or funeral fees in the event that the crash results in a fatality.

Direct compensation coverage

Direct compensation coverage is another mandatory coverage in Ontario. Unlike accident benefits, which pertains to bodily harm, direct compensation deals with property damage. If your car is damaged in an accident that you were not at fault for, you can file a direct compensation claim to be reimbursed for the cost of repairing your vehicle.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Last but not least, uninsured automobile coverage is mandatory in Ontario, and for good reason. With this type of coverage, you will be protected if you get into a collision with an at-fault driver who does not have car insurance or who does not have enough insurance to pay for the cost of the accident. This type of insurance will also cover hit and runs.

Extra protection for SUV drivers

The mandatory coverages listed above aren’t the only types of insurance available to SUV drivers. If you want extra protection on the road, which is recommended due to the financial security it offers, consider adding any one of the following coverages to your SUV insurance policy:

Collision coverage

Collision car coverage can pay to repair or replace your SUV if it suffers extensive damage in an accident. This type of coverage can be claimed regardless of whether the policyholder is found to be liable for the accident. It can also be claimed whether the collision occurred with another vehicle, an animal, or even a grounded object on the road.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car coverage, also known as parked car insurance, offers financial security against losses or damage that occur while your SUV is parked. Such risks may include theft, vandalism, fire, explosions and riots, flying and falling objects, and weather-related events. With this type of coverage, you can file a claim to repair or replace your vehicle, so long as the vehicle was lost or damaged due to an insured peril.

Accident forgiveness coverage

One more type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage and eligibility varies by province.

Waiver of depreciation

A waiver of depreciation is a type of coverage that can be added as an endorsement or rider to an SUV insurance policy. It will cover the cost of buying a new vehicle if yours is totalled and deemed a write-off following an auto accident.

Loss of use coverage

Finally, loss of use coverage is another form of extra protection that can help you cover the cost of taking alternate transportation if your SUV is temporarily unusable due to an accident. For example, if your SUV is damaged in a collision and needs to be repaired, you can file a loss of use claim to cover the cost of renting a car or taking taxis while your SUV is in the shop.

Get in touch with BrokerLink for SUV insurance

Safety matters, especially when driving. Thankfully, BrokerLink is here to make sure that you stay safe on the road by helping you find the right insurance policy for your needs. Plus, as auto insurance experts, we can explain the importance of SUV safety ratings, as well as discuss whether self driving cars are safe and offer tips on how to make long distance drives safer. To learn more about the safest SUVs in Canada or to request a free SUV insurance quote, get in touch today. We can be reached by phone, email, or in person. You can also use the online quote tool on our website to receive an accurate and reliable estimate in minutes.

Get an auto insurance quote [phone]