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

Toyota and Nissan both received top safety awards from the IIHS in 2017, but Toyota takes the top spot. Safety features can reduce your 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 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Toyota RAV4 is the safer of the small SUVs
  • The Nissan Rogue has fewer safety features with a good rating
  • Both Nissan and Toyota are top safety picks by the IIHS

Small SUVs are all over the road, and many consumers spend ample time figuring out which one they want to drive based on various reasons.

One of the most important things consumers check before deciding whether they want to drive a Toyota or a Nissan is the safety rating. Besides the price of Toyota auto insurance vs Nissan auto insurance, which is safer?

Consumers want to keep their families safe on the road, and that’s nothing something the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) takes lightly.

Using several rating systems, the IIHS spends time every year testing all vehicles for safety purposes. The small SUV category includes one Toyota and one Nissan small SUV, and both have excellent safety ratings.

It’s helpful to know that driving a vehicle that’s on the list of the IIHS’ top safety picks helps you save on insurance premiums. Don’t forget to tell your insurance company if you drive a vehicle on this list so you can find discounts when comparing rates.

Compare car insurance rates right now, right here by using our free quote tool above.

How does the IIHS rate vehicles for safety?

The IIHS uses several different methods to determine the safety of the small SUVs on the road. The first is by breaking down each vehicle into three categories and then breaking those down into a few subcategories.

  • Crashworthiness is comprised of small and moderate overlap, sides, roof strength, and head and seat restraints.
  • Crash avoidance and mitigation rates the front crash prevention and headlights
  • Child seat anchor category rates the LATCH system

Each subcategory is then ranked and given a grade.

  • If it gets a “G,” it’s good.
  • If it gets an “A,” it’s acceptable.
  • If it gets an “M,” it’s marginal.
  • If it gets a “P,” it’s poor.

“G” is the best, “P” is the worst, and no car manufacturer wants to see their vehicle with a “P” rating in any category. Every state requires you have car insurance to avoid being penalized, and driving this vehicle allows you to find a better rate on this insurance.

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Toyota RAV4 Safety Ratings

This is the only 2018 model in the small SUV category for Toyota. It’s a small SUV made for five people, and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest rating possible on the list.

All but two categories earned “G” ratings. The passenger-side small overlap received a “P” to the driver side’s “A” rating, and the headlights received an “A” rating from the IIHS.

The “P” rating isn’t good, but it’s not the worst when you take it into consideration with all the other high ratings across the board.

The front crash prevention category has the highest rating of superior, which is what most people consider the most important aspect of this vehicle’s safety features.


Nissan Rogue Safety Ratings

There are two Rogues in the Nissan family on the list. One is the Nissan Rogue and one is the Nissan Rogue Sport. The Rogue has better ratings of the two.

The front crash prevention rating is superior, and the vehicle has “G” rating in all but two categories. It has an “A” in the headlight category, and it has an “M” in the LATCH category.

Families want a child latch that’s easier to use, but that didn’t stop this vehicle from being awarded an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating.

The Nissan Rogue Sport falls even further down on the list, but not because it’s not as safe as any of the other vehicles on the list. The simple reason or for this is the vehicle was only tested in the crashworthiness category, and only then in three subcategories.

It did receive a “G” rating in all of them, but it was not ranked by the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick of any type.

Toyota vs. Nissan

When you compare the safety rating of both the Toyota and the Nissan small SUVs, the winner is clear. The Toyota RAV4 takes the top spot over the Nissan thanks to its superior latch and headlights.

The simple truth is you cannot go wrong with either small SUV if you’re finding it’s difficult to choose.

Both are eligible for insurance discounts due to their safety ratings, which makes them bot more affordable to drive than many other small SUVs in the same class.

If your goal is to shop for a small SUV with a superior safety rating, either one is an excellent choice. Both offer excellent insurance discounts, and you can still find other ways to save on your insurance premiums if you want to keep more money in your pocket such as bundling your insurance policies together.

To find the best rates, it’s imperative to drive a car with a high safety rating issued by the IIHS, but it’s also important to ask for discounts elsewhere.

Being a safe driver, insuring more than one vehicle on your policy, and allowing yourself time to compare rates helps you find better insurance rates. Compare rates right here by entering your zip code below.

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