Is BMW’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Chevy’s?

Which is safer? BMW X1 or Chevy Trax. The X1 is a top IIHS safety pick, while the Trax didn't make the list. Safety features can lower auto insurance rates up to 8%.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • A Top Safety Pick vehicle can help drivers save money when they’re looking for the best insurance policy
  • The BMW X1 won a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, but the Chevy Trax did not
  • Safety ratings can play a huge part in the vehicle that people choose, but they should not be the only factor drivers consider

The IIHS has made sure they are using tests that are in line with the most accurate crash systems in the industry. They are the experts so they feel they play an important role in the way a vehicle is tested.

By using tests that are realistic, the IIHS feels they are giving accurate ratings on how a vehicle will perform if it is in a crash on an actual road. No matter which vehicle you choose, make sure to compare rates with our free quote tool above! 

Ratings the IIHS Uses

The ratings for each vehicle the IIHS tests are good, acceptable, marginal or poor with good being the best and poor being the worst. The IIHS uses another system for the crash avoidance with ratings of superior, advanced and basic from best to worst.

The ratings are used for every vehicle the IIHS tests and are the same for each class of vehicle the IIHS recognizes to keep things as fair as possible when considering the safety of each vehicle.

BMW and Chevy Crash Tests

When the IIHS looked at the BMW X1 and the Chevy Trax, they performed tests on the small and moderate overlap fronts, the restraints, the sides and the roof.

The tests were done on a closed crash course in a realistic setting to determine how each vehicle would be able to perform. The Chevy Trax performed better than the BMW X1 on each of these tests.

Since there was no data for the BMW X1’s small overlap front on the passenger side, it did not receive a rating. The Chevy Trax received an A rating on the small overlap front passenger side test.

The Chevy Trax and the BMW X1 both had scores of G on the rest of the crash tests in the major crash category.

Avoidance with the BMW and Chevy Small SUVs

The BMW X1 received an Advanced rating for the crash avoidance system that was available with optional equipment. It received this rating because it had a working warning system and was able to stop when it was going 12 miles per hour using the auto brake.

It only reduced its speed with the auto brake when it was going 25 miles per hour. The Chevy Trax only received a Basic rating for the avoidance system that came with the optional equipment.

The Trax had a warning system for a potential front crash that was up to the NHSTA. It did not have any auto brake system that was available with the optional equipment the IIHS tested.

The headlights in the X1 received a score of P. They had inadequate visibility going straight and on turns. The Chevy Trax did not receive a score for its headlights.


LATCH System in the X1 and Trax

The LATCH system was only acceptable in the X1 and the Trax. The LATCH system in the X1 received the A rating because it was too difficult for the user to maneuver around the system.

The LATCH system in the Trax also received a rating of A, but that was because there was other hardware that could have been confused for the LATCH system in the vehicle.

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The Winner

Not only was the BMW X1 one of only three vehicles in the small SUV category to win the prestigious Top Safety Pick award but it was also a safer choice between it and the Chevy Trax. The Chevy Trax did not win any awards.

It was not considered safe enough for the award because the IIHS was unable to test the headlights on the vehicle.

The scores seemed similar when breaking them down into the categories and the Trax even performed better during crash tests, but the overall score of the X1 was slightly higher than the Trax.

The IIHS bases the scores each vehicle receives on the overall ratings from the testing areas. The Institute also considers the overall score when awarding the Top Safety Pick title to the different vehicles.

Safety Isn’t Everything

People who follow the safety ratings listed by the IIHS may think safety is the only thing that they should consider when shopping for a vehicle.

While the safety of a vehicle is important and can save people money on car insurance, there are other things people need to take into consideration when they’re shopping for a vehicle.

Only considering the safety of the car can leave a buyer feeling like they didn’t get everything they wanted in the vehicle. Cost is another big factor that people choose to consider when they’re looking at a vehicle.

Choosing a vehicle based on the cost, the way a vehicle fits into a driver’s lifestyle and the safety of it will all add up to make the best vehicle possible.

Drivers who think about what they will use the vehicle for and where they will be driving in addition to cost and safety may get a better vehicle for their lifestyle. Make sure to compare rates no matter which vehicle you choose with our free quote tool below!

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