12 Safest Small SUVs & Crossovers

For every model year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issues a list of top picks chosen from the extensive rounds of testing and trials that the organization executes. The IIHS rates vehicles on a scale of Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor, based on performance in a moderate overlap frontal crash, small overlap frontal crash, side impact and rollover, and evaluations of seat and head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts, its website says.

Each vehicle is from the 2013 model year unless otherwise noted and represents only the small/compact SUVs that were tested by the IIHS.

1 .BMW X1

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BMW isn’t just known for its comfort, performance, and elegance — the German firm also builds very safe cars. Case in point is the X1, which was awarded three Good ratings and one Marginal.

2. Buick Encore

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The Buick (NYSE:GM) Encore, like the BMW, was awarded three Good ratings, although it scored a Poor rating in the small overlap front test, a notoriously challenging and more recent trial that manufacturers are scrambling to comply with.

3. Ford Escape

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The Ford’s (NYSE:F) scorecard matches that of the Buick, indicating that the small overlap front test has become the Achilles’ heel for new cars.

4. Honda CR-V

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The Honda (NYSE:HMC) CR-V won Good ratings in all categories but the small overlap (surprising nobody), where it earned a respectable Marginal rating.

5. Jeep Patriot

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Though it scored a Poor rating in the front overlap, the Jeep (FIATY.PK) managed Good ratings throughout for the 2014 model year. However, the 2013 model would have received the same scores if it came equipped with the optional side airbags.

6. Kia Sportage

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The Sportage, in keeping with the trends, got slapped with a Poor rating in the front overlap, but achieved scores of Good throughout the rest of the trials.

7. Mitsubishi Outlander

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The Mitsubishi Outlander earned the esteemed recognition of being a Top Safety Pick+ as it earned Good ratings in all but the front overlap trial, where it earned an Acceptable rating — the minimum requirement for a Pick+ designation.

8. Subaru Forester

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Though the 2013 model of the Subaru Forester earned a Good rating across the board, it was not subjected to the front overlap crash. However, the 2014 model was, where it earned a Good rating — the only car on this list to do so.

9. Toyota Rav4

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Though it earned a Poor rating in the frontal overlap, the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Rav4 cleaned the board with a resounding slate of Good ratings.

10. Hyundai Tucson

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The Hyundai Tucson has made significant progress in safety since the early 2000s, and has gotten its scores up to Good — that is, for all tests but the dreaded front overlap, where it got a Poor.

11. Mazda CX-5

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The Mazda CX-5 came tantalizingly close to winning the Top Safety Pick+ honors, but a Marginal rating in the front overlap held the vehicle back.

12. Volkswagen Tiguan

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Like the Mazda, the Volkswagen Tiguan scored a Marginal rating for the front overlap and a Good score in everything else — just missing the grade for the Pick+ designation.

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