Is Mazda’s safety rating on small SUVs better than BMW’s?

Both Mazda's small SUVs and the BMW X1 both received top marks from the IIHS, but Mazda won out. 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: Nov 3, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • BMW and Mazda’s small SUVs all perform well in safety tests
  • Both Mazda SUVs are Top Safety Pick+ award winners
  • The BMW X1 is a Top Safety Pick in 2017

Mazda’s safety rating for small SUVs is better than the small SUV BMW has in the category. Both of Mazda’s small SUVs are ranked high on the list of safe vehicles in this class, but BMW’s small SUV isn’t far down the list.

If you’re in the market for one of these small SUVs, you might find yourself making a decision based on other factors if you were hoping for a large discrepancy in safety ratings.

The small SUV market is hot right now, and many of the most popular small SUVs on the market boast excellent safety ratings.

Not only does this mean you get to drive a small SUV that makes you feel safe and secure on the road, but you also get to take advantage of the insurance discounts auto insurance agencies offer drivers of safe vehicles.

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) releases its annual list of Top Safety Picks, any vehicle on the list gets a discount for being less expensive to insure.

If you have one of these small SUVs or you buy one, call your insurance agent or shop around for a safety discount. Shop around right here by using our free car insurance comparison tool above.

The IIHS Top Safety Pick and Ratings Information

To better understand how the IIHS rates vehicles, it helps to understand what it means and how it works. All vehicles are crashed, wrecked, and graded. The grades are as follows:

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

No vehicle manufacturer wants to fall into the “P” rating category.

The vehicles are graded on three major categories each complete with a sizable list of subcategories.

The crashworthiness category has five subcategories, the crash avoidance and mitigation category has two subs, and the child safety category has one sub, which is the child LATCH ease of use category.

Once the crash tests are performed, each portion of the test is graded and given to the vehicle.

What’s the purpose of this? The purpose is to help you, the consumer, choose a vehicle that’s safe. You want to keep your family safe, and you do this by driving a vehicle that is chosen as a Top Safety Pick.

This award means the vehicle gets a superior or advanced front crash protection rating and five “G” ratings in the crashworthiness category. To get a Top Safety Pick+ rating, a vehicle needs all that and at least an “A” rating in the headlights category.

Any vehicle with a Top Safety or Top Safety+ rating is less expensive to insure, and that is reflected in your premiums. Just don’t forget to mention it to your insurance agency so you can get a discount when you compare rates.


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Mazda Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

The 2017 Mazda lineup is impressive. Both the 2017 Mazda CX-3 and the 2017 Mazda CX-5 are Top Safety Pick+ award recipients for their excellent ratings. The CX-3 has a “G” rating across the board with the exception of “A” ratings in the headlights and LATCH categories.

The front crash prevention category received the highest possible level of superior, and that makes this small SUV one of the best and safest on the market.

The CX-5 is nearly identical to the CX-3 except for the front crash prevention rating. It did receive a superior rating, but the rating was slightly lower than the other Mazda in the same class.

This one only counts on models with optional equipment. The base model doesn’t have the necessary equipment installed to keep it at the top of the superior category. It’s not bad, though.

BMW Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

The BMW X1 is the only BMW on the list of small SUVs in 2017, and it’s representing the BMW family nicely with a solid Top Safety Pick rating.

This small BMW received “G” ratings in all the crashworthiness categories, and it also received an advanced front crash prevention rating. However, the vehicle did not perform as well where headlights are concerned.

The X1 has an “M” rating on the headlights, which means it’s marginal and in need of some serious improvement. The LATCH system has an “A” rating, which is the most common rating among all small SUVs in this class.

In fact, only the Toyota RAV4 has a “G” rating on its LATCH system.

Mazda Wins, but BMW Isn’t Far Behind

The Mazda small SUVs both beat the BMW in terms of safety ratings, but not by much.

All three vehicles are safe, reputable, and aesthetically appealing, which might make the decision more difficult for consumers.

All three are Top Safety Picks, which means they’re all less expensive to insure.

Mention this information to your insurance agent when you call about your new car. Use our free rate tool below to compare quotes with other agencies if you’re not certain you can get the best possible rate with your own company.

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