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Toyota is known for making some of the best vehicles around, so it’s not really a surprise that it has two new SUVs on iSeeCars’ list of the best SUVs. What is a surprise is that only one of them has great safety ratings. The 2022 Toyota Highlander and 2022 Toyota 4Runner may take the first and third spots in the Best Midsize SUVs of 2022, but only the Highlander has top-notch safety scores.

A lime green 2022 Toyota 4Runner driving down a dirt road.
2022 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

The NHTSA and IIHS inform safety scores

To come up with the list of the best midsize SUVs – and all lists that they compile – iSeeCars analyzed data from more than 12 million vehicles. It used information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as from its own team of data scientists. In addition, it uses results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards to determine rankings.

iSeeCars has conducted Longest-Lasting Cars and 5-Year Depreciation Studies which have helped inform these rankings. While the lists are ranked based on overall score, each vehicle is rated in three major categories: reliability, value retention, and safety. Let’s take a look at how the Highlander and 4Runner fare in safety tests.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander is the Best Midsize SUV for 2022

The 2022 Toyota Highlander ranks first for being the Best Midsize SUV for 2022. This is thanks to its high overall score of 8.9. So what’s involved in the Highlander’s chart-topping rating? It’s a reliability rating of 8.5, a value retention score of 8.2, and a perfect safety score of 10.0.

The NHTSA gives the 2022 Toyota Highlander five stars for safety. The overall front star rating is four out of five stars. This score “Combines Driver and Passenger star ratings into a single frontal rating. The frontal barrier test simulates a head-on collision between two similar vehicles, each moving at 35 mph.” Both the front driver side and front passenger side scores are four out of five stars.

The IIHS calls the 2022 Toyota Highlander a Top Safety Pick+. To win the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must have good crash test ratings in all major categories. It also has to have superior or advanced safety systems and acceptable or good headlights standard on all models.

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner doesn’t win a safety award

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner ranks number three on the list of the Best Midsize SUVs for 2022 and has an overall score of 8.6. The Toyota 4Runner also has a reliability rating of 8.8, a value retention score of 9.0, and a safety rating of 8.0.

The NHTSA gives the Toyota 4Runner four out of five stars as well. It gets four out of five stars for the overall front star rating and four stars for the front driver side rating. The front passenger side rating, on the other hand, gets only three stars.

In addition, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner doesn’t win a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award. It has a marginal small overlap front: driver side score, which precludes it from any safety award.

Both the 2022 Toyota Highlander and 2022 Toyota 4Runner may be some of the top 2022 SUVs you can buy, but the safety scores vary between them. If you’re torn between the Highlander and the 4Runner, the Highlander is the safer choice.


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