Which 2023 SUVs Are the Top Safety Picks?

Which 2023 SUVs Are the Top Safety Picks?

The IIHS made things more interesting this year with a new crash test. Despite that, we still have several 2023 SUVs that achieved Top Safety Pick status.

The new crash test isn’t part of the overall consideration for a vehicle to achieve Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ status yet. This new test measures the likelihood of injuries to rear-seat passengers. For the 2023 model year, 48 new vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick distinction, and 28 of those added the plus to the honor. This is incredible and offers a good feeling in the automotive industry that more vehicles are hitting the top safety marks than ever.

The good feeling is less than before

The number of IIHS winners is smaller than before because the organization continues to build on the safety gains achieved each year. The models that won are standouts in their respective classes for crashworthiness and crash prevention. The IIHS made the standards stricter and tests harder to pass to truly recognize those vehicles that hit the top spots. This should give consumers a good feeling about the models that are rated as the safest models in the market.

What changes in the testing

The 2023 SUVs that made the Top Safety Picks list had to pass much stricter testing than ever before. This year the side impact test is more rigorous than before. The IIHS also raised the headlight rating criteria for the top awards, requiring those reaching the TSP mark to achieve a least an acceptable rating for headlights. In previous evaluations, this meant at least one trim of a vehicle, but now, all trims must reach this mark to be considered a TSP model in these tests.

Vehicles earning the plus distinction had to also pass a more strenuous vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test. This was a nighttime test because many of the advanced safety systems in vehicles struggle during dusk and darkness.

Because of these stricter requirements, 48 models hit the TSP mark compared to 101, which achieved this rating last year.

Which 2023 SUVs achieved the Top Safety Pick+ rating?

The SUVs achieving the top rating from the IIHS are:

Small SUVs

  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda HR-V
  • Lexus UX
  • Subaru Solterra

Midsize SUVs

  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Kia Telluride
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Volkswagen ID.4

Midsize Luxury SUVs

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Infiniti QX60
  • Lexus NX
  • Lexus RX
  • Tesla Model Y
  • Volvo XC90

What makes a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle?

U.S. News & World Report tells us to qualify for an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) award; a vehicle must earn a “good” rating in both driver- and passenger-side small overlap front tests, plus the moderate overlap front test. They must also achieve a “good” rating in the new side crash tests, a score of “good” or “acceptable” in the organization’s headlight evaluation, and an “advanced” or “superior” rating in both daytime and nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention.

Which SUVs hit the Top Safety Pick marks?

The 2023 SUVs that achieved the Top Safety Pick score didn’t quite have what it takes to add that plus to the end of the award but they are still some of the safest vehicles you’ll find. Those SUVs are:

Small SUVs

  • Mazda CX-30
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mazda CX-50
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Toyota Venza

Midsize SUVs

  • Ford Explorer
  • Mazda CX-9

Midsize Luxury SUVs

  • Lincoln Nautilus

What makes a Top Safety Pick vehicle?

According to U.S. News, qualifying for an IIHS Top Safety Pick (TSP) award requires a vehicle to earn a “good” rating in both driver- and passenger-side small overlap front tests, plus the organization’s original moderate overlap front test. They also must earn a rating of “acceptable” or “good” in the new side crash test, “acceptable” or “good” headlight ratings, and an “advanced” or “superior” rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention.

What can you surmise from these lists?

The common thread among the 2023 SUVs that achieved at least the Top Safety Pick rating is Mazda. There are several Mazda SUVs on both lists, which tells you that you can trust these vehicles to keep you safe and away from trouble. Even if you don’t want to drive a Mazda SUV, you’ll see several great options to give you the right vehicle to drive and enjoy every day.

Will you drive one of these safe SUVs?

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.

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