Is Nissan’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Chevy’s?

The Nissan Rogue took home top safety awards in 2017, while the Chevy Trax earned none. Safety features can reduce your auto insurance rates by up to 8%.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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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...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Nissan has been manufacturing a five-seat compact SUV called the Nissan Rogue since 2008
  • The Nissan Rogue did not receive impressive IIHS safety ratings until 2014 when the model underwent a redesign
  • The 2017 Nissan Rogue is a Top Safety Pick+ award recipient and has earned top scores in crashworthiness
  • Chevy also has a small SUV called the Trax which was first introduced to the market in 2015
  • When comparing the performance of the Rogue to the Trax, Nissan makes the safer small SUV

Nissan was never a big contender in the SUV class of the industry until the release of the Nissan Rogue. This small SUV hit the market in 2008 and ever since it was introduced it has been a highly competitive brand in the crossover market.

Statistics show that crossovers account for one in every three vehicles sold and surprisingly enough, the Rogue is the top-selling non-pickup in America.

As fuel economy has become less of a concern, auto consumers have drawn their attention to crossovers. While Nissan has captured a huge part of the market share by making the Rogue’s design more appealing, it also focused on making the crossover safer.

The safer design is a change that hasn’t gotten enough attention.

While it is important to look for technological features, fuel economy, and exterior designs, safety should always be at the forefront of your list.

Comparing car insurance quotes should definitely be on your list of activities. You can compare quotes right here for different vehicles you’re considering purchasing or for the vehicle you presently drive. You might be surprised to see how much you could save!

If you’re comparing Nissan’s small SUV to that of a company like Chevy, compare more than just price. Here’s what you need to know about each make’s safety ratings:

Understanding IIHS Safety Ratings

There would be no way for you to compare unbiased vehicle safety ratings with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This educational non-profit is responsible for helping to pass laws that will help to reduce the number of accidents on the road.

The IIHS also evaluates aspects of safety like crashworthiness and crash avoidance in an effort to identify cars that protect occupants. The tests conducted are as follows:

  • Small overlap front
  • Moderate overlap front
  • Side
  • Roof strength
  • Head restraints & seats
  • Front crash prevention
  • Headlights
  • Child seat anchors (LATCH)

Crash tests can be very messy. To protect researchers, the IIHS has a Vehicle Research Center complete with a Crash Hall that is used to evaluate vehicle structures and crash avoidance systems all year round.

By using crash test dummies, test tracks, and test labs, researchers can assign vehicle ratings. If you’re comparing the Nissan Rogue to the Chevy Trax, here’s a list of the ratings that can be assigned:

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor
  • Crash Prevention and Avoidance – Superior, Advanced, or Basic

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Safety Ratings for the 2017 Nissan Rogue

  • Small overlap front – Good
  • Moderate overlap front – Good
  • Roof strength – Good
  • Side – Good
  • Head restraints & seats – Good
  • Front Crash Prevention – Superior (with optional equipment)
  • Headlight Evaluation – Acceptable (only on certain trims)
  • Child Seat Anchor Ease of Use – Marginal

The Nissan Rogue has been on the market now for 10 years. Out of these 10 years, the vehicle received “Marginal” front crash ratings for 6 of them. It wasn’t until the 2014 redesign that the Nissan Rogue started to perform well in crash tests.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue didn’t just perform well in crashworthiness tests, it excelled expectations. With all “Good” ratings and a “Superior” rating in crash mitigation, the latest Rogue is a Top Safety Pick+ award-winner.

There is, however, room for improvement in headlight performance and the ease of use for the car seat LATCH system.

Safety Ratings for the 2017 Chevy Trax

  • Small overlap front – Good
  • Moderate overlap front – Good
  • Roof strength – Good
  • Side – Good
  • Head restraints & seats – Good
  • Front Crash Prevention – Basic (with optional equipment)
  • Headlight Evaluation – N/A
  • Child Seat Anchor Ease of Use – Acceptable

The Chevy Trax is also a five-seat small SUV but it hasn’t been around quite as long as the Rogue. Released in just 2015, the Trax doesn’t have much traction in the industry as of yet.

Chevy has yet to produce a safety award-winning model, but it did take Nissan six model years to pull this off with the Rogue.

While the vehicle has earned all “Good: ratings in crashworthiness, it failed to pass the test in front crash prevention earning just a “Basic” score with the optional Forward Collision Alert feature.

The 2016 model earned a “Poor” grade in headlights and the 2017 Trax model wasn’t even tested, which makes it hard to compare to the Nissan.

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2017 Top Safety Pick+

In 2017, Nissan didn’t just produce a safe vehicle, the brand produced a Top Safety Pick+ recipient. The Rogue as a model has gone a long way from missing out on awards to topping the charts.

By earning top-notch crashworthiness and crash prevention scores, the Rogue beats out the Trax which didn’t manage to receive any awards.

When comparing the test results and the awards, it’s easy to see that in 2017 Nissan has produced the safer small SUV.

If you’re shopping for a Rogue or even a Trax, make sure to price the cost of insurance first. Use our online rate comparison tool and see how much the safety ratings affect your premiums.

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