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

When comparing small SUVs and safety, the Subaru Forester beats the Chevy Trax. The Forester is the third safest small SUV, but the Trax performs poorly in important tests.

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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 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Subaru Forester is the third safest small SUV on the market
  • The Chevy Trax does not perform well in front crash prevention tests
  • The Chevy Trax was not rated for its headlight performance

The Chevy Trax and the Subaru Forester might not appear to have much in common on the surface.

The Chevy is your typical small SUV while the Subaru is reputed for its off-roading capabilities and real sport utility features. However, they’re both small SUVs in the same class, which means they’re more alike than many people realize.

Each one has something to offer consumers whether its excellent off-roading skills or great fuel-efficiency.

What’s important to you might not be nearly as important to another consumer in the market for a small SUV and vice versa. However, it’s almost always a safe bet to assume consumers consider both cost and safety when purchasing a new vehicle.

It’s not commonly considered, but the safety features of a small SUV are also a major cost factor. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates all new vehicles as they’re introduced.

The ratings each small SUV receives from these tests help insurance agencies determine how much they charge to insure the vehicle.

Small SUVs with great safety ratings are usually more cost-effective since they protect drivers and passengers from injuries.

Before signing any purchase paperwork, call your insurance provider to find out which vehicle is the most cost-effective to insure or shop around for better rates with other insurance providers.

Shop around right here by using our free quote tool above. Just enter your zip code to begin.

Safety Ratings Defined

Every vehicle is tested for its ability to handle crashes in various situations.

IIHS breaks its tests into three major categories.

  • Crashworthiness – every vehicle is rated for its own crashworthiness abilities based on how well the vehicle performs on the following tests:
    • small overlap front
    • moderate overlap front
    • roof
    • side
    • head restraints and seats
  • Front crash prevention and headlights
  • LATCH system – it is not rated on its performance during accidents, however. It’s rated based on how easy it is to use.

All crash tests are scored by professionals who spend time rating each aspect of the vehicle following accidents. Good, acceptable, marginal, and poor are the grades issued depending on the outcome of each safety test.

To earn one of the IIHS’ top honors, each vehicle much meet certain criteria. To earn a Top Safety Pick award, the vehicle must earn perfect scores for crashworthiness and advanced or superior scores for front crash testing.

To earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating, the vehicle must meet those requirements as well as earn an acceptable or good rating for its headlights. No small SUV earned anything higher than an acceptable in the headlight department in 2017.


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Subaru vs. Chevy Safety Test Ratings

The Subaru Forester is a Top Safety Pick+ award winner in 2018, but the Chevy Trax didn’t quite make the list of award winners.

Both vehicles have great safety ratings in most categories, but only the Subaru Forester performed well enough to earn an award and any insurance discounts.

Subaru Forester Safety Ratings

The Subaru Forester performed well enough in every crash test category to earn a Top Safety Pick+ award in the current model year. There are five main crashworthiness categories, and one is broken down into two smaller categories.

The small front overlap is rated on both the driver and passenger sides, but only the driver side rating matters in terms of safety awards.

The Subaru earned all good ratings in crashworthiness save for the small overlap front passenger side in which it earned a marginal rating. The front crash test earned this small SUV a superior rating, and both the LATCH and headlights earned respectable acceptable ratings.

Overall, it’s a very safe vehicle rated third of 23 small SUVs.

Chevy Trax Safety Ratings

The Chevy Trax fell short of any safety awards because it only earned a basic rating in the front crash department. It wasn’t rated for its headlights, so a Top Safety Pick+ award wasn’t possible even with a better front crash rating.

This vehicle did well in the crashworthiness department, however. It earned all good ratings and an acceptable rating in the small overlap front passenger. It also earned an “A” rating for its child LATCH.

The Best Small SUV for Your Buck

Both of these small SUVs are safe, and they’re not too different as far as ratings go. If you’re stuck between the two, take a moment to compare the warranties both vehicles offer as standard warranties.

While you can always purchase an additional extended warranty for peace of mind if the vehicle you want doesn’t have the best factory warranty, it’s an additional cost many believe is not worth the money.

Call your insurance provider prior to making a purchase. Your agent can tell you to the cent how much insurance premiums are for both vehicles you’re considering, which is a helpful tool in determining which one is the most affordable in the long run.

Even if you’re satisfied with your insurance agent’s quote, check free online quotes from other agencies to see if anyone else can give you a better rate. Don’t forget to ask for company discounts, good driver discounts, and good student discounts if you qualify.

Enter your zip code below to begin comparing and seeing how much you could save.

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