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

When it comes to small SUVs and safety, the Hyundai Tucson wins with perfect scores in most areas. The Chevy Trax got a low score in front crash prevention.

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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 26, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Hyundai Tucson is the safest small SUV in its class
  • The Chevy Trax is on the smaller side of the small SUVs
  • The price difference between the Chevy and Hyundai small SUVs is approximately one thousand dollars

It’s not uncommon for consumers to wonder which small SUV is the best choice for their family. There are 23 small SUVs in the class this model year, and it’s not necessarily easy to choose between them unless you want something very specific.

For some buyers, the idea of driving off a lot with a brand-new Chevy Trax or Hyundai Tucson is appealing, and they want to know which is the best buy.

If you’re in this situation right now, you should know there is not a right or wrong answer about which vehicle is best for you. What you must do is make a list of features that are most important to you and compare both small SUVs using that list.

For some people, safety is most important. For other people, the price is more important. There’s always the fact that the vehicle with the smallest purchase price tag might not be the most affordable vehicle to own when you consider maintenance and warranties.

Now that you’ve narrowed down the search to two small SUVs, the price is important. The price difference between these two small SUVs is approximately $1,000 with the Hyundai being the more expensive of the two.

The fuel efficiency is similar to the Chevy getting slightly better gas mileage by one to three miles per gallon. The Hyundai is just slightly larger than the Chevy, and it also has a superior warranty.

Warranties are important because they can save you a lot of money if something happens to your car.

Another way to save money is to compare insurance quotes. Enter your zip code above to find the best rate for the coverage you need.

Don’t Forget to Consider Safety

One of the most important aspects of any small SUV is the safety it provides if an accident should occur.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) wants consumers to have access to the most comprehensive safety features these vehicles offer, and this is also what many insurance companies use to determine how much it costs to insure a specific vehicle.

Safer vehicles that perform well in crash tests are less expensive to insure, so that’s yet another factor to add to your list of pros and cons while shopping for a small SUV.

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IIHS Safety Ratings and Awards

Vehicles are tested in the following three areas:

  • Crashworthiness – small front overlap, moderate front overlap, side, roof, head restraints, seats
  • Crash Avoidance and Mitigation – front crash prevention and headlights
  • Child Seat Anchors – LATCH system

The vehicles are then given one of the following grades:

  • “G” is good
  • “A” is acceptable
  • “M” is marginal
  • “P” is poor

Keep in mind that not all test scores are considered relevant to certain people. Consumers without kids don’t care about the child LATCH.

Those who do have kids might make this one of the most important features on their list of needs.

The LATCH grade is not issued in terms of safety but rather in terms of ease of use.

The front crash prevention category is not graded using letters. It’s graded with a basic, advanced, and superior rating. Headlights have only been on this list for a few years now, and they’re rated based on how well they serve you at night in terms of preventing accidents.

The IIHS has determined that the headlights in most vehicles are seriously lacking, and not one small SUV of 23 received a perfect score for their headlights.


Hyundai Tucson vs. Chevrolet Trax

If you’re judging on aesthetics alone, the Hyundai is the sleeker, sportier of the two. It’s also the safest. It’s been issued the highest safety award for the year.

The Top Safety Pick Plus award winner earned this prestigious award for earning perfect scores in crashworthiness, a grade of advanced or better in the front crash prevention category, and an “A” in the headlights category.

The Chevy did not earn any safety awards.

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai impressed the IIHS crash test team with its perfect scores in all but headlights and LATCH categories.

Both of these categories earned the second highest rating possible, which makes the Hyundai the safest small SUV on the block. Driving this small SUV means you’re getting impressive insurance discounts on safety features.

Chevrolet Trax

While the Trax certainly doesn’t rate poorly in any area, it did not perform well enough in the front crash prevention category to earn any awards. It received a very low basic score in this category, and it was not graded on its headlights this model year.

The vehicle did earn an “A” in the LATCH system, and it earned perfect scores in the crashworthiness categories.

Finding the Best Price Overall

Before you judge a book by its cover, it’s safe to assume you might think the Chevy is more affordable since it’s got a lower price.

However, it has a warranty that’s two years and 24,000 miles less than the Hyundai, it’s not getting any insurance discounts for being a safety award winner, and it’s not quite as big as the Hyundai.

Before you buy either based on price alone, call a few insurance companies to compare rates. Let them know if you have any safety features such as:

  • an anti-theft system
  • anti-lock brakes
  • lane assist
  • parking assist
  • backup cameras

These things qualify for insurance discounts.

Ask about discounts for being retired, for driving low miles each year, and even for having good grades if you are a student.

Each of these factors can affect the overall cost of your vehicle and make it so one is significantly more affordable than the other.

Compare car insurance quotes today for free by using our comparison tool below.

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