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

The Lexus RX, NX, and Buick Envision earned Top Safety Pick+ awards. The Lexus RX wins due to its superior front crash prevention and child seat anchors.

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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: Nov 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Consumers can use the IIHS/HDLI safety ratings to help shop for a safer car
  • The cost of auto insurance can be directly affected by a vehicle’s safety rating
  • Midsize luxury vehicles made by Lexus are generally safer options than those made by Buick based on IIHS/HDLI’s safety ratings

Midsize luxury SUVs generally seem like very safe options, but consumers are often misled by companies about a vehicle’s safety ratings.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) conveniently provides consumers with reliable safety ratings based on their evaluations of each vehicle.

The IIHS/HDLI uses these ratings to award qualifying vehicles with one of their Top Safety Pick awards.

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IIHS/HLDI Safety Ratings

In this case, the focus will be on the Lexus RX, NX and Buick Envision. All three of these midsize luxury SUVs will undergo thorough testing in the IIHS/HDLI’s vehicle research center to determine how safe they really are.

Each vehicle will be tested on the following:

  • crashworthiness
  • child seat anchors
  • crash avoidance and mitigation

With the exception of front crash prevention, which falls under the category of crash avoidance and mitigation, all of these areas will receive good, acceptable, marginal, or poor ratings.

Basic, advanced, and superior ratings will be given to each vehicle for the front crash prevention category.

All of these ratings are used by insurance companies to increase or decrease premiums, so the driver should take all of these things into consideration before purchasing a vehicle.


How well a vehicle can protect its riders in the event of a crash or collision is how crashworthiness is determined. In this series of test, the IIHS evaluates each car in the following areas:

  • sides
  • roof strength
  • front small overlap
  • front moderate overlap
  • head restraints and seats

The Lexus RX and NX both earned “good” ratings for all of these categories.

The Buick Envision also managed to prove itself with all “good” ratings as well. This places all three vehicles on a level playing field for crashworthiness.


Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

Safety features that are geared towards avoiding collisions are steadily rising in popularity. When a vehicle is less likely to crash, the operator can maintain a decent driving record while benefiting from the lower cost of their insurance coverage.

Crash avoidance and mitigation evaluate each vehicle’s front crash prevention and headlights. Both the Lexus NX and Buick Envision earned an “advanced” rating for front crash prevention.

The IIHS/HDLI further indicated that the Buick Envision earned this rating with optional equipment, while the Lexus RX earned a “superior” rating. All three vehicles earned “advanced” ratings for their headlights.

The Lexus NX and Buick Envision both had indications that they earned their ratings for only certain trims while the Lexus RX had a similar indication with optional equipment.

Child Seat Anchors

This section tests each vehicle’s LATCH, or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. Due to federal regulations, most vehicles are required to have at least two rear seats with full LATCH.

The hardware present in each vehicle is tested by the IIHS/HDLI in order to evaluate how easy a car seat installation is.

The IIHS/HDLI pays close attention to necessary force, how accessible the lower anchors are, the clearance angle, and the appearance of any other hardware that could be confusing or misleading.

The Lexus NX and Buick Envision both earned “marginal” ratings for this category, but the Lexus RX earned a “good+” rating with an indication of extra LATCH positions.

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Top Safety Pick Awards

The IIHS/HDLI presents worthy vehicles with one of their Top Safety Pick awards based on the above criteria. This award conveniently helps consumers to narrow down which vehicles are the safest options.

All three vehicles managed to snag a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS/HDLI. All three of these vehicles are among the safest vehicles that you could possibly buy.

Because the Lexus RX, NX, and Buick Envision all earned Top Safety Pick+ awards from the IIHS/HDLI, it’s pretty safe to say that they would all provide the driver with the necessary safety features to potentially lower their auto insurance costs.

As similar as all of these ratings are, the Lexus RX takes the victory over the other two cars because of its “superior” rating for front crash prevention and its “good+” rating for child seat anchors.

The other two vehicles have nearly identical ratings but the Lexus RX proves that Lexus produces safer midsize luxury SUVs than Buick.

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