Blog What Are The Safest Cars To Drive In Canada?

Mar 9, 2022

High car safety ratings will help you save on insurance

crash text dummy inside car

The safest cars in Canada have high safety ratings. Driving comes with many risks, and it’s essential to know the driver and passengers are protected if there is an accident.

Improvements can be structural, or as simple as headlights. Studies show that headlight improvements can even reduce crashes. Driving at night is one of the most dangerous times on the road. Many new headlights can improve safety from 4% to 29%.

Check out the IIHS list of the safest cars in Canada 2022 to determine where your car lands on the list or plan for your next vehicle.

What are car safety ratings?

Car safety ratings are specific scores given to vehicles to determine how safe they are if there is an accident. The score also examines how effectively the vehicle avoids a collision altogether. A car with a good rating compared to poor will have a better chance at protecting you and passengers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the definitive source for determining the safest cars to drive. Using tests to assess vehicles’ accident avoidance and protect occupants, they identify the safest vehicles to drive.

Types of car safety ratings in Canada

Canada uses three different entities to establish a car safety rating. It includes the following :

  • IIHS safety rating : the IIHS rates a vehicle’s safety performance using colour codes on a scale. Each colour represents a range from “Poor” to “Good”, or from “Basic” to “Superior.”
  • National safety mark : Set by car manufacturers and must comply with Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) in Canada. This national safety mark serves as an indication of safety and reliability.
  • NHTSA rating : An American-based organization that rates vehicles on a 5-star rating program with five being the highest and being the lowest rating.

These factors help reduce overall insurance claims costs for insurers, which means a lower car insurance quote for you.

Criteria for the top safety picks

To qualify as an IIHS Top Safety Pick vehicles must meet the following criteria :

  • There is a good rating in driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.
  • An acceptable or good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test.
  • An advanced or superior rating in the front crash prevention test.
  • An acceptable or good in the headlight rating.

How does car safety help lower insurance?

The vehicles in this list of the safest cars all have one thing in common - they can help you lower your car insurance rates. Safer vehicles are less of a risk, therefore vehicles with a higher safety rating are less of a risk. Here is why :

  • Fewer collisions : Collision avoidance sensors provide drivers with assistance to prevent accidents and to adjust driving to avoid objects.
  • Less theft : Car safety features such as theft prevention, engine shut-off, and tracking capabilities make vehicles less likely to target thieves and reduce car theft.
  • Fewer injuries : High-quality airbags, collision impact reduction design, and accident avoidance helps to reduce and prevent injuries.

What are the safest small cars in Canada?

Do you prefer to drive a smaller car? Here are some of the top-rated for safety in this class :

  • Honda Insight
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Kia Forte
  • Kia Niro hybrid
  • Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
  • Kia Soul
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru WRX
cars in a test crash

Safest midsize cars

Is a midsize car more your style? Here are the safest vehicles in this class :

  • Honda Accord
  • Hyundai Sonata, with specific headlights
  • Kia K5
  • Nissan Altima
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry

Safest midsize luxury cars

Shopping for a safe luxury car? Check out these models :

  • Acura TLX
  • 2022 Audi A4, with specific headlights
  • Audi A5 Sportback hatchback
  • BMW 2 series Gran Coupe, with specific headlights
  • BMW 3 series, with specific headlights
  • Lexus ES 350
  • Lexus IS
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Volvo S60
  • Volvo S60 Recharge
  • Volvo V60 Cross Country

Safest large cars

Only a few large cars made the list of safety to drive :

  • Kia Stinger hatchback
  • Toyota Avalon

Safest large luxury cars

Enjoy large and luxury vehicles? Here are the top safety performers :

  • Audi A6
  • Audi A6 allroad
  • Audi A7
  • Genesis G70 sedan, applies only to vehicles built after June 2021
  • Genesis G80
  • Genesis G90
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class, with optional front crash prevention

What are the safest small SUVs?

Small SUV models are a popular option for all types of drivers. They are safer than small cars and have more storage capacity making them great for city drivers and those looking to their Toronto car insurance costs. If you need something for the city that will keep you safe you'll love these :

  • Buick Encore GX, with specific headlights
  • 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer
  • ord Bronco Sport
  • Ford Escape
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Hyundai Venue, with specific headlights
  • Kia Seltos, with specific headlights
  • Kia Sportage, with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights
  • Lexus UX, with specific headlights
  • Lincoln Corsair, with specific headlights
  • Mazda CX-30
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mitsubishi Outlander, applies only to vehicles built after June 2021
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Toyota C-HR, with specific headlights
  • Toyota Venza, with specific headlights
  • Volvo C40 Recharge
  • Volvo XC40
  • Volvo XC40 Recharge
woman smiling inside car

Safest midsize SUVs

Looking for the best SUV with a little more room and high safety standards? These are the safest midsize SUVs in Canada :

  • Ford Edge, with specific headlights
  • Ford Explorer 4-door
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E, with specific headlights
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Hyundai Santa Fe, only applies to vehicles built after July 2021
  • Kia Telluride, with specific headlights
  • Mazda CX-9 4-door
  • Nissan Murano 4-door
  • Subaru Ascent 4-door
  • Toyota Highlander 4-door
  • Volkswagen ID.4 4-door

Safest midsize luxury SUVs

Drive an SUV with all the bells and whistles? These have it all from a safety perspective :

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Audi Q5
  • Audi Q5 Sportback
  • BMW X5, with specific headlights
  • Cadillac XT6
  • Genesis GV70
  • Genesis GV80
  • Hyundai Nexo
  • Lexus RX, with specific headlights
  • Lincoln Aviator, with specific headlights
  • Lincoln Nautilus, with specific headlights
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC, applies only to vehicles with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, applies only to vehicles with optional front crash prevention
  • Tesla Model Y
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC60 Recharge
  • Volvo XC90
  • Volvo XC90 Recharge

Safest large SUVs

  • Audi e-tron large
  • Audi e-tron Sportback large
  • Audi Q8 large, with specific headlights
male driver with black jacket inside vehicle

Safest minivans

  • Toyota Sienna
  • Kia Carnival, award applies only to vehicles with specific headlights built after March 2021
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Chrysler Pacifica

Safest small pickups

  • Hyundai Santa Cruz, with specific headlights

Safest large pickups

  • Ford F-150 large pickup/crew cab pickup, with specific headlights
  • Ford F-150 large pickup / extended cab pickup with specific headlights
  • Ram 1500 large pickup/crew cab pickup applies only to vehicles with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights

How to check your car’s safety rating

To check your car’s safety rating, you can go directly to the IIHS website and search for your make and model. You’ll learn more about how the vehicle protects occupants and how well it is rated for crash avoidance and mitigation.

FAQs about the safest cars

In Canada, car safety ratings are determined by various crash tests and how safety features work. Depending on the score, you will know how good or poorly a vehicle will protect you in a crash or how to avoid them.

The safest cars for young drivers are vehicles they are comfortable driving. In general, it’s recommended for teen drivers to have lower horsepower and bigger vehicles. Any car that appears on the top safety list is worth considering for your teen driver. Since most teens drive used vehicles, it’s also essential to choose a car that is known for reliability.

Since most teens drive used vehicles, it’s also important to choose a vehicle that is known for reliability.

Many great vehicles share very similar safety features and ratings. Any one of the top safety picks on the IIHS list is safe. But, the key determining factor that makes a car safe is who is driving. Choosing one of the safest cars and driving with safety in mind will make your vehicle one of the safest on the market.

Subaru’s are consistently considered one of the safest car brands each year. They have award-winning safety features to help keep drivers safe while driving or if they get in an accident.

Smaller and faster vehicles are less safe to drive. When considering cars, look into reliability, recalls, collision testing performance, and the vehicle's overall protection if you were involved in an accident.

Final thoughts on why you should buy a safe vehicle

Along with being a defensive driver and graduating from an MTO approved driving school, buying a safer vehicle plays a crucial role in keeping roads safe and lowering your car insurance in Ontario and other parts of Canada.

All of these factors help to reduce overall insurance claims costs for insurers. As a result, there is a lower risk for insurers, which means a lower premium for you.