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Small SUVs don’t always perform as well as larger sport utility vehicles in crash testing. These options from Mazda, Toyota, and Subaru are some of the safest small SUVs, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Even though the IIHS Top Safety Pick criteria changed for this year and require better scores all around, the options below still earned high marks.

Mazda had the most options on the IIHS list of safest small SUVs

When the IIHS listed the safest options that earned Top Safety Pick awards, Mazda had three options in the category. First up is the 2023 Mazda CX-30 in the compact SUV category. Edmunds says it has plenty of standard safety features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CX-30 its Top Safety Pick award for 2023.

In its second generation now, the 2023 Mazda CX-5 is still sporty and fun to drive. The 2023 version has a quieter cabin and upgraded interior, only adding to the allure. In addition to the driver assistance features mentioned previously, the CX-5 also gets blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning. It earned the Top Safety Pick award and a high score on the front crash avoidance tests.

Drivers like the 2023 Mazda CX-50 for how it handles and for its nice interior. On top of that, the CX-50 has comfortable seats and plenty of standard safety features. Mazda included forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot warning as standard driver assistance features. The CX-50 also received systems like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.

Toyota also had some of the safest small SUVs

It probably won’t come as a surprise that the 2023 Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Prime landed on the list of safe small SUVs. Toyota made the small sport utility vehicle segment what it is with the RAV4 back in the ’90s and continues to be a strong competitor.

In addition to the RAV4, the Toyota Venza is back for 2023 as a hybrid with all-wheel drive. It has more room inside than it looks and seats five comfortably. The all-wheel drive addition makes it a good option for those in colder climates, and the hybrid powertrain offers good fuel economy.

Both Toyota SUVs received forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. Lane-keeping assist, lane-centering assist, and adaptive cruise control are also standard systems. The 2023 Venza and 2023 RAV4 earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick award.

Nissan and Subaru had some safe picks on the list

This Subaru Forester in the snow is one of the safest small SUVs according to Consumer Reports
A 2023 Subaru Forester | Subaru

Drivers like the 2023 Subaru Forester for its capable nature and roomy interior. Subaru also made the Outback relatively fuel efficient, even if the 2.5L four-cylinder engine isn’t the most powerful option out there. Known for making small but safe SUVs, the 2023 Forester comes equipped with many standard safety systems.

The 2023 Nissan Rogue is fresh off a redesign and has the new looks to prove it. A new 1.5L engine gets 201 hp and powers the Rogue, improving fuel economy and engine noise. Nissan included the previously mentioned driver assistance features like forward collision warning, automatic emergent braking, and lane departure warning.

These options made the list of safest small SUVs, according to the IIHS. These are some of the safest new vehicles for 2023, a top priority for many shoppers.


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