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

Lexus and Lincoln were both given safety honors in 2017, but Lexus earned the top spot. The average rate for SUV auto insurance is 18% higher than normal vehicles.

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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 1, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • How a series of tests run by the IIHS/HDLI can help consumers choose the safest vehicles
  • Which categories IIHS/HDLI focuses on in order to provide safety ratings
  • How each test determines how a vehicle’s safety is ranked
  • How Lincoln and Lexus midsize luxury SUVs compare when it comes to IIHS/HDLI safety ratings

When it’s time to purchase a midsize luxury SUV, it’s important to research its safety features because having a safe vehicle will allow drivers to protect their passengers and potentially lower the cost of auto insurance.

It’s possible for companies to mislead consumers into thinking that their vehicles are safer than they really are.

Thankfully, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HDLI) evaluates these vehicles and provides safety ratings to consumers.

The ratings that result from the IIHS/HLDI’s evaluations are used to decide which vehicles are worthy of receiving their award for either Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+.

Compare car insurance quotes to see how the cost for insurance compares between the Lexus and the Lincoln SUVs. Enter your zip code above to get started.

IIHS/HLDI Safety Ratings

This particular safety study will focus on the safety ratings of Lexus’s RX and NX models as well as the Lincoln’s MKX, MKT, and MKC models. Each vehicle receives a safety rating of either good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on the different areas used for evaluation.

These categories include:

  • crash avoidance and mitigation
  • child seat anchors
  • crashworthiness

The front crash prevention test, which falls under the category of crash avoidance and mitigation, is the only area that does not follow the standard safety ratings mentioned above.

Instead, this test’s options will be different levels of either basic, advanced, or superior ratings. It would be wise to consider these ratings before purchasing a vehicle because of their influence on insurance premiums.

– Crashworthiness

How well a vehicle can protect its passengers in the event of a collision is how crashworthiness is determined.

All of the Lexus and Lincoln model’s crashworthiness was tested on the following:

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

The Lexus RX, NX, and Lincoln MKX all earned “good” ratings in every single crashworthiness category. Although the Lincoln MKT earned “good” ratings for four of the categories, it was unavailable to receive a rating for the front small overlap category.

The Lincoln MKC was also unavailable for this category as well as the roof strength and head restraints and seat categories. The MKC did still manage to receive good ratings for the two remaining crashworthiness categories.


– Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

If a vehicle is more likely to avoid collisions, it could result in the lowering of insurance costs. The Lexus RX and Lincoln MKX both received perfect “superior” ratings for their front crash prevention.

The IIHS/HDLI also indicated that the MKX received its “superior” rating with optional equipment. The Lexus NX received the only advanced rating, while Lincoln MKT and MKC both received only basic ratings.

Both the Lexus RX and NX received “acceptable” ratings for their headlights. The IIHS/HDLI further indicated that the RX received this rating with optional equipment and that the RX received its rating for only certain trims.

The Lincoln MKX and MKT both received “marginal” ratings for their headlights, with the specification that the MKX earned its rating with optional equipment. Unfortunately, the Lincoln MKT earned a “poor” rating in this category.

– Child Seat Anchors

Most parents will purchase midsize luxury SUVs with the intention of installing a car seat. By federal regulations, at least two rear seats are required to have Full Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, otherwise known as LATCH, in most cars.

The IIHS/HDLI thoroughly evaluates every aspect of the child seat anchors including:

  • force
  • clearance angle
  • accessibility
  • location in order to determine the ease of use

The Lincoln MKC was unavailable for this area of testing, so it received no rating. Both the Lexus NX and Lincoln MKT received “marginal” ratings, while the Lincoln MKX earned an “acceptable” rating.

The Lexus RX, however, earned a rare “good+” rating with an indication of extra latch positions.

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Top Safety Pick Awards

Once all of the evaluations are complete, the IIHS/HDLI uses a combination of all the results to determine which vehicles will receive their Top Safety Pick awards.

This process marks worthy vehicles with their seal of approval so that consumers may know how safe each vehicle is.

Out of the five vehicles mentioned, the Lincoln MKC and MKT are the only two that did not earn one of these awards.

The Lincoln MKX managed to obtain a 2017 Top Safety Pick award, but the Lexus RX and NX both obtained 2017 Top Safety Pick+ awards from the IIHS/HDLI.

Which Is Safer?

Although the Lincoln MKX came close, it simply could not measure up to the safety ratings that both Lexus models managed to obtain. Overall, Lincoln’s performance was brought down by the undesirable ratings earned by the MKT and MKC.

Lexus excelled with the RX’s child seat anchors and consistently positive ratings. When it comes to choosing between Lexus’s or Lincoln’s midsize luxury SUVs, Lexus has proven its vehicles to be the safest option.

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