Is Lexus’s safety rating for midsize luxury SUVs better than Acura’s?

When comparing midsize luxury SUVs and safety, both Acura and Lexus offer impressive safety ratings. But the overall winner is Acura.

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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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UPDATED: Oct 20, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Lexus RX has the best safety rating in Lexus and Acura’s midsize SUV category
  • The Lexus NX is a top rated safety pick, but it has the second lowest rating for child safety latches
  • Both Lexus and Acura midsize SUVs are similarly priced

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) creates an annual list of the safety ratings for all new model year vehicles. The IIHS breaks down safety ratings into letter grades similar to those you see in a school setting.

Rather than A, B, C, and D grades, the IIHS uses letters G, A, M, and P.

  • G stands for good, and it’s the best rating
  • A is acceptable
  • M is marginal
  • P is poor

The institute separates each vehicle into different classes so consumers can easily compare makes and models to find out which one works best for their family and their budget.

Driving a vehicle that receives a G rating from the IIHS is also great for your car insurance rates. Vehicles with good safety ratings are more affordable to insure because they tend to result in less damage and fewer injuries.

The midsize luxury SUV category is a popular one with consumers who want a luxury SUV for a fraction of the price. Consumers often want to know which is safer, the midsize Lexus SUV or the midsize Acura SUV?

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What’s graded in each car by the IIHS?

Every vehicle rated for safety is rated on the same features in three different categories. Crashworthiness is one category, and it contains grades for the front, the side, the roof, and the head restraints and seats.

The second category is the crash avoidance and mitigation category, which includes grades for the headlights and the front crash prevention.

The child seat anchors in each car have a category all to itself, and the latch is the portion used to grade this.

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Lexus Midsize SUV Safety Ratings

Lexus is a luxury brand with a long history and a bevy of upscale vehicles. The midsize luxury SUV category in the Lexus lineup for the 2017 year includes the Lexus NS and the Lexus RX.

The IIHS has awarded both of these SUVs with the Top Safety Pick rating in its class, which is an excellent distinction that leaves both vehicles high on the list of safe midsize luxury SUVs.

Lexus RX Safety Features and Ratings

The Lexus RX 2017 models receive a G (Good) rating in every category but headlights.

Headlights are given an A (Acceptable) rating for this model year. It does come with optional equipment in the headlight department, so it’s not a poor rating.

The front crash prevention rating is superior, and the child safety latch is rated a G+, which is even better than a solid G. Overall, this is a safe vehicle with a starting price of approximately $43,000.

Lexus NX Safety Features and Ratings

The 2017 Lexus NX doesn’t have the same safety ratings in every category as its sister vehicle. It does have a G in all but the Latch, Headlight, and Front Crash Prevention categories.

The Front Crash Prevention rating for this SUV is only Advanced with optional equipment, which is only slightly less impressive than a superior rating.

The headlights receive an A rating on certain trims, and the child latch ease of use is only rated M (Marginal).


Acura Midsize SUV Safety Ratings

Both the 2017 Acura RDX and Acura MDX are labeled midsize luxury crossovers in this category, and both are awarded the 2017 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

Unlike Lexus, Acura doesn’t have a larger full-size SUV, which means these are the biggest Acura vehicles on the market. This makes them the biggest SUV sellers in the lineup.

Acura MDX Safety Features and Ratings

The 2017 MDX has an impressive safety rating across the board. With a G rating in all crashworthiness categories, it does rank high on the list of safe vehicles.

This is always a plus when it comes to finding a luxurious midsize SUV with good insurance rates.

The Front Crash Prevention rating is superior, but the headlights and latch are only rated A (Acceptable). This is not quite as good as the Lexus RX, but it’s far better than the Lexus NX.

Acura RDX Safety Features and Ratings


The 2017 RDX model receives the same safety rating as the MDX models across the board.

All G ratings in the crashworthiness department, a superior rating in the Front Crash Prevention category, and A ratings in both the headlights and child latch categories.

This makes the slightly smaller version of the Acura midsize SUVs superior to the Lexus NX with its ratings in the final three categories.

The Safest Ratings Go to Acura

While both Acura and Lexus offer impressive safety ratings in the midsize luxury SUV department, the overall winner is Acura.

The Lexus RX does have the best ratings of all four vehicles compared here, but its sister NX has such low ratings in three categories compared to the very consistent Acura ratings.

If you’re looking for a new midsize luxury SUV in either family, you won’t go wrong with any of the above.

When comparing car insurance rates, it’s the Lexus RX that will offer the lowest rates, and that’s often one of the most important deciding factors for shoppers. Learn more here: where can I compare several affordable auto insurance rates.

However, you will get a good rate on any of these vehicles thanks to the IIHS Top Safety Pick rating each received in the 2017 model year.

Don’t forget to let your insurance agent know which one you choose to take advantage of your discounts. Use our FREE insurance comparison tool to find quotes today!

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