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

Analyzing the Nissan Rogue and the Chevy Trax

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

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 Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jul 5, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • The Nissan Rogue has been on the market since 2008
  • Chevy’s Trax was first introduced in 2015
  • In terms of small SUVs, the Nissan Rogue is considered safer than the Chevy Trax

Compact SUVs have been growing in popularity, and nearly every car manufacturer is interested in getting a small SUV on the market. Nissan and Chevy are two brands that compete when it comes to small SUVs.

But which is safer? The Nissan Rogue or the Chevy Trax? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Nissan Rogue is safer based on an evaluation of several different factors.

Is the Nissan Rogue or the Chevy Trax safer?

While both the Nissan Rogue and the Chevy Trax are considered safe compact SUVs, the Nissan mini SUV wins in terms of overall safety.

The IIHS evaluates multiple aspects of safety, such as crashworthiness and crash avoidance, to identify cars that offer the most protection. 

The IIHS tests the following for safety:

  • Small overlap front: driver-side 
  • Small overlap front: passenger-side
  • Moderate overlap front 
  • Side: original test 
  • Side: updated test
  • Roof strength 
  • Head restraints and seats 
  • Headlights 
  • Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle 
  • Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian 
  • Seat belt reminders 
  • Child seat anchor (LATCH) ease of use

The IIHS uses crash test dummies, test tracks, and test labs to allow researchers to assign vehicle ratings. Here are the possible ratings for the Nissan Rogue and the Chevy Trax:

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor

In specific scenarios, the IIHS uses ratings of basic, advanced, or superior in place of those listed above. 

What are the Nissan Rogue ratings for each category?

The Nissan Rogue’s overall ratings for each category are as follows:

  • Small overlap front: driver-side – Good
  • Small overlap front: passenger-side – Good
  • Moderate overlap front – Good
  • Side: original test – Good
  • Side: updated test – Acceptable
  • Roof strength – Good
  • Head restraints & seats – Good
  • Headlights – Good
  • Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle – Superior
  • Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian – Superior
  • Seat belt reminders – Acceptable
  • LATCH ease of use – Good+

The most notable difference between the Rogue’s initial testing from 2017 and the updated ratings is the increased rating for the LATCH ease of use. Previously marginal, the vehicle now has a good (plus) rating. The LATCH system’s high ranking offers peace of mind, specifically regarding infant and child car seats.

Additionally, the Rogue’s initial side impact rating was good, while the updated rating is acceptable. The IIHS notes that the lower rating is due to a lack of head protection for both the driver and rear passenger.

What are the Chevy Trax ratings for each category?

Ratings for the Chevy Trax are as follows:

  • Small overlap front: driver-side – Good
  • Small overlap front: passenger-side – Acceptable
  • Moderate overlap front – Good
  • Side: original test – Good
  • Side: updated test – Acceptable
  • Roof strength – Good
  • Head restraints and seats – Good
  • Headlights – Not available 
  • Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle – Not available
  • Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian – Not available
  • Seat belt reminders – Not available
  • LATCH ease of use – Acceptable

Like the Nissan Rogue, Chevy’s Trax received a downgrade in the IIHS side-impact rating from good to acceptable. The Trax received a lower rating because crash tests indicated a significant chance of injury to the driver’s torso.

 An assessment of the Trax’s headlights, front crash prevention, and seat belt reminders is unavailable. However, the Nissan Rogue received only two acceptable ratings. The rest were either good or superior. The Chevy Trax, on the other hand, received three acceptable and no superior ratings.

Why use the IIHS to determine safety?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is the leading independent, nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage from crashes of all types of motor vehicles. 

The IIHS seeks to do this through research and evaluation to educate consumers, policymakers, and professionals in the safety industry.

Because the IIHS runs tests on virtually all makes and models of vehicles, it offers an excellent gauge of a vehicle’s safety on its own and when compared to other similar makes and models. 

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Is the Chevy Trailblazer considered safe?

Another option for anyone looking to purchase a small SUV is the Chevy Trailblazer. While some do not consider the Trailblazer a small SUV, the IIHS included the model in the 2022 Top Safety Picks. The Chevy Trailblazer is considered a safe small to midsize SUV, alongside these others:

  • Ford Bronco
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Mazda CX-30
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota RAV4 Prime
  • Volvo C40
  • Volvo XC40

As you can see, the Nissan Rogue also made the IIHS list of top safety picks for 2022, making it a safer model than the Chevy Trax overall.

How can I find the safest mini SUVs?

To find a safe SUV, you can research the safest models on the market. The IIHS updates its top safety picks every year. Look for similarities in the list over the past few years to see recurring makes and models. Then, evaluate the crash test results from any make and model you are considering to determine whether the SUV is safe for you and your family.

Not everyone can purchase a new vehicle. If you are considering purchasing a used SUV, ensure the vehicle is safe by taking it to a trusted mechanic. Take your time to inspect and evaluate a compact SUV properly.

How much is insurance on an SUV?

Auto insurance rates vary based on several different factors. Some of the most common factors to impact a person’s car insurance rates include the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Car make and model
  • Occupation
  • Credit score
  • Driving history
  • ZIP code
  • Marital status

The table below shows average annual car insurance rates for new and used SUVs from different companies.

Average Annual Auto SUV Insurance Rates with Different Companies
Insurance CompanyUsed SUV Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesNew SUV Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates
American Family$3,326.18$3,496.99
Liberty Mutual$5,825.33$6,244.44
State Farm$3,226.02$3,418.33
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As you can see, rates for a new SUV are often higher than those for a used SUV because of the car’s value. However, you may find that shopping online and comparing auto insurance quotes from different companies helps you find the coverage you want at a price you can afford.

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Nissan vs. Chevy: The Bottom Line

While the Nissan Rogue edged out the Chevy Trax in terms of overall safety, Chevy’s Trailblazer is another compact SUV that made the IIHS list of top safety picks for 2022. Both the Rogue and the Trailblazer could be a great fit for you if you’re looking for a safe compact to midsize SUV.

Before you purchase a vehicle, do your research to determine how safe the car is. If it’s new, evaluate the vehicle’s ratings on the IIHS website and other sites that compare the safety of competing models. If the SUV is used, take it to a trusted mechanic to have it inspected before purchasing it.

While auto insurance rates for an SUV can be pricey, you may be able to find cheaper rates when you compare quotes from multiple companies online. Comparing insurance quotes takes time, but it could save you a significant amount in the long run.

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