Car News

The Safest Crossovers and SUVs You Can Buy: IIHS Reveals 2021 Top Safety Pick+ Awards

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of award winners that have undergone rigorous crash, safety tech, and even headlight testing. Its top award is Top Safety Pick+, and for 2021, 49 cars, trucks, and crossovers have earned that safety award. These are the safest crossovers and SUVs that were the recipients of this year's trophies.

To qualify for a Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle has to get a good rating in all six of the IIHS's crash tests including driver and passenger small overlap, moderate overlap, side, roof, and head restraints. They're also required to have front crash prevention that earns superior or advanced for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash avoidance tests, and they must have headlights with a good or acceptable rating across all trims and packages.

No pickup trucks were awarded the top trophy this year, and only one earned a Top Safety Pick (without the +), the Ram 1500 crew cab. Last year no pickups earned either of the top awards.

The 49 winners mark a big improvement over 2020 when just 23 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick+ award. The figure has more than doubled this year as automakers have scrambled to improve their front lighting systems to meet that test which was first added in 2017 when well-rated headlights needed only be optional and made more strict for 2020 when they were required on each trim of a model to get the award. Front crash prevention is still only required to be optional or available, though the IIHS says 20 automakers have signed a pledge to put the vehicle-to-vehicle emergency braking on 95 per cent of vehicles starting next year.

Safest Small SUVs

Mazda CX-3
Mazda CX-5
Mazda CX-30 (built after September 2020)
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Forester
Volvo XC40

Safest Midsize SUVs
Ford Explorer
Hyundai Palisade
Mazda CX-9
Subaru Ascent
Toyota Highlander

Safest Midsize Luxury SUVs
Acura RDX
Cadillac XT6
Hyundai Nexo
Lexus NX
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (with optional front crash prevention)
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC60 Recharge
Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90 Recharge

Safest Large SUVs
Audi e-tron
Audi e-tron Sportback