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

Honda and Chevy SUV's both received comparable safety ratings from the IIHS in recent tests. Safety features can lower auto insurance rates by 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 28, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Vehicle safety is one of the main factors that should be analyzed by potential buyers, especially with the increase of cars available
  • The Insurance Institue for Highway Safety completes safety testing that quantifies manufacturers’ abilities to prevent and endure an accident
  • Honda CR-V is a Japanese, SUV model produced by one of the largest car brands in the world
  • Chevrolet is an American producer that sells high-quality vehicles in many categories, including trucks, small, cars, and SUVs such as the small Trax model

With an increasing number of vehicles on the roads, drivers are exposing themselves to many threats every time they start their vehicle.

A short distraction can have long-lasting consequences, which is why it is important for manufacturers to dedicate all the resources necessary towards the creation of a safe automobile.

With the middle class of the society getting increasingly large due to economic conditions in the nation, sellers have seen a spike in sales of SUVs.

Currently, they account for the majority of the vehicles that have been registered in the United States, which is a testament to their quality.

Compare car insurance quotes to see how these makes differ in premium costs. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to get started.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Even with great sales, the incentive to scrutinize SUVs to in-depth testing is not reduced but increased.

That testing area is where the Institute for Highway Safety comes in.

Countless manufacturers will ship prototypes of their latest models to the IIHS’s facility in Virginia, and they will not expect to see them back as these models will be tested until destruction.

There are three areas of assessing a new vehicle:

  • Crashworthiness is a category that splits into six subsequent tests that are driver and passenger small front overlap, moderate overlap, roof and side-impact, and head restraints test. The ratings are based on the intrusion and injury risk, and they can be poor, marginal, acceptable, or good.
  • Crash prevention and mitigation quantify the ability of a vehicle to prevent collisions from happening. This is done through a 12 and 25 miles per hour tests where the car is supposed to detect danger and slow down. Potential ratings are basic, advanced, or superior.
  • Child anchors give an overview of how easy it is to use the latches that connect to children’s seats. All new models must have them, usually in their back seat area, and they should be easily accessible. The ratings are the same as those in crashworthiness.


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Honda Versus Chevrolet

To demonstrate the testing in action, a comprehensive overview of all of the categories will be depicted. The models used arrive from a Japanese and an American car manufacturer, Honda and Chevy.


The most recent addition to the line of testing at the Institute was the passenger-side small overlap front collision.

Chevrolet Trax is one of the very few models that have a score available for this area, as many other models did not get evaluated since the test had not been released yet. For example, Honda CR-V is an example of a vehicle that has not been assessed.

The score that Chevy’s passenger-side small overlap received was “acceptable,” which is very good considering they did not know this is an area that would be evaluated. 

The rest of the scores for both vehicles were “good.” Thus, both CR-V and Trax have overpowering capabilities to maintain a safe survival space, to absorb impact through airbags, and to minimize the intrusion into the cabin.

Crash Prevention & Mitigation


Honda took the lead with the prevention test that was significantly better for its model. With a superior rating that came from all six points that CR-V got, it outperformed Chevy Trax that only received one point or a basic rating.

Trax had no available low and high-speed auto brake tests which cost it five points, and the only area where it received its points was from a functional forward-collision warning system.

Honda CR-V, on the other hand, maintained its third year of “superior” crash prevention scores.

Headlight scores were not available for Chevy, while Honda received an “acceptable” rating. Most issues for CR-V arose from the gradual left curve where the visibility was inadequate. No glare limits were ever exceeded though.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

Both vehicles had two rear seating positions with complete child seat attachments, as well as a single additional position with a tether anchor only. Upon reviewing the accessibility of anchors, the IIHS concluded that Honda acceptably met the necessary standards.

Issues that downgraded both vehicles from a “good” score were hard to find the location, too much force needed to attach to the seat to the anchor, and latches that were too deep in the seat.

With minor adjustments, these cars could both receive a “good” score in this category over the next few years.

2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+


The requirements for the awards that the Institute gives are as follows:

  • Good crashworthiness tests and advanced/superior crash prevention – Top Safety Pick
  • All of the above plus an acceptable/good headlight rating – Top Safety Pick Plus

Looking over the scores for Honda CR-V one can see it met all the requirements for the Plus award, while Chevy Trax was capped at the basic Top Safety Pick recognition.

The overall winner of the comparison is Honda. Its dominance in the crash prevention (a 6 to 1 score) and better headlights gave it an upper hand over the American competitor Chevrolet.

The Insurance Basics

Upon purchasing either of the vehicles mentioned here, one should understand that the law will require people to acquire a liability insurance policy. The minimum requirements vary state-to-state, and people will get quotes depending on their:

The list goes on, but these are the main factors that will influence a number of payments in premiums, the deductible, and the downpayment.

Since there are a lot of different companies in the market, the easiest way to do a comparison of more than one company at a time is to put them side-by-side alongside all of their characteristics. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool below!

This sounds somewhat straight-forward, but it is a very tedious research process. Therefore, one should just rely on websites that specialize in this type of service where all the companies’ information is readily available. This way, one can select the best offer and save money!

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