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

Mazda's small SUVs took home top safety honors in 2017, while the Buick Encore earned none. 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: Oct 22, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Buick Encore did not score high enough in safety tests for any awards
  • Both the Mazda CX-3 and the CX-5 are Top Safety Pick Plus award winners
  • Both of Mazda’s small SUVs qualify for insurance discounts because of their safety ratings

Looking for a small SUV is difficult with such a saturated market. In years past it wasn’t uncommon to find only one vehicle from every manufacturer in each class, but that’s changed as time went on.

Now some manufacturers have one, two, three, and even four vehicles in the same class and shopping have become a bit more confusing. Fortunately, if you’re stuck between a small Mazda SUV and a small Buick SUV, you only have three to choose from.

All three are sleek, upgraded, and provide exactly what you’re looking for regarding space and efficiency, but it’s the safety features many consumers are worried about. Does the small SUV you’re leaning toward have the safety features you’re looking for?

If it does, it also can save you a few dollars on your auto insurance premium if it has a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the coverage you need at the best rate. Enter your zip code into our quote tool above to begin.

What is the IIHS Safety Rating System?

The IIHS provides an annual rating system for all new vehicles. The IIHS goes out and purchases each new vehicle for the new model year, crashes it, and gives it a grade on individual specifics. The categories that are evaluated are as follows:

  • crashworthiness
  • accident avoidance and mitigation
  • child safety (LATCH)

There are several subcategories that are issued a letter grade so consumers know how safe the vehicle is before an accident occurs and they learn firsthand.

This rating also helps auto insurance agencies determine what to charge for each vehicle. If it’s a safer vehicle, it’s much more affordable to insure because it’s less likely to need as many repairs or result in as many injuries if it’s involved in an accident.

The IIHS uses letter grades to determine the safety features in each small SUV.

  • Good is the best, and it gets a “G” rating.
  • Acceptable is the next best grade a vehicle can get, and it’s an “A” rating.
  • Marginal isn’t great, but it’s not the worst rating. You’ll see an “M” for marginal.
  • “P” is for poor, and it’s the lowest score any vehicle gets following safety tests.


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Mazda Safety Scores for Small SUVs

The 2017 Mazda lineup features two small SUVs. The Mazda CX-3 is a Top Safety Pick+ award-winner. It has “G” ratings in all five crashworthiness categories.

It has “A” ratings in headlights and child safety LATCH categories. It’s got the highest form of superior possible for the front crash prevention test, and that’s why it scores so high on the safety picklist.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 is also a Top Safety Pick+, but it’s just a little less impressive regarding its front crash test prevention.

Rather than the highest level of superior, it was given a slightly lower level of superior depending on the trim level and the optional features added into the package price when the car is purchased.

Buick Safety Scores for Small SUVs

Buick has one vehicle in the small SUV category, and it didn’t receive any Top Safety Pick awards in 2017. The scores in the crashworthiness category aren’t bad. It received “G” scores in everything but the small overlap front passenger side subcategory. That category got an “A.”

The 2017 Buick Encore also has an “A” rating in the LATCH system, the headlights were not rated in 2017, and the front crash prevention score is a very low basic level.

The Mazda vehicles both take over the top spots over Buick when comparing safety ratings.

Both of the Mazda vehicles are Top Safety Pick+ award-winners, and they both qualify for some insurance discounts when you’re shopping for a new policy.

Even better, they both offer you and your loved ones more safety and security when you’re driving.

What is a Top Safety Pick?

The IIHS issues safety awards for certain vehicles that meet certain requirements in testing.

If a vehicle can pull at least five “G” ratings across the crashworthiness board and it receives an advanced or superior rating in the front crash prevention tests, it’s awarded a Top Safety Pick award for the year.

If the vehicle meets those requirements as well as receive an “A” rating on the headlight system, it’s upgraded to a Top Safety Pick+ award.

These vehicles are safer, stronger, and less likely to cause as much damage in case of an accident so insurance companies can charge you less to insure these vehicles.

If you have a safe vehicle like this, be sure you mention it when you’re comparing rates so you get the lowest possible rates from car insurance companies.

It’s always wise to ask for any available discounts when you call to compare rates. If you don’t know what discounts are available, ask the agent to tell you what he or she can do for you based on certain life situations.

You might not know right now, but you could save significantly on the cost of auto insurance simply by asking that one question.

Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool above to find the best rate for the car insurance coverage you need.

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