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HomeDriver's ResourcesList of Safest SUVs in Canada

Safety ratings can be determined by several organizations, including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but note that not all vehicles are tested by these agencies each year.

Typically, SUVs that have historically received good safety ratings:

  1. Subaru Forester
  2. Mazda CX-5
  3. Toyota RAV4
  4. Honda CR-V
  5. Ford Edge
  6. Volvo XC60 and XC90
  7. Audi Q5 and Q7
  8. Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  9. BMW X3 and X5
  10. Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson

Specific safety features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist have become increasingly common, enhancing the safety profile of many newer SUV models.

For the most up-to-date information on the safest SUVs in Canada for 2023, I recommend checking the official websites of Transport Canada or the IIHS, or looking up Canadian auto safety reviews.

Let’s delve into a brief description of each SUV and touch on some of their safety features:

  1. Subaru Forester
    • Description: A compact SUV that blends a comfortable ride with rugged versatility. Standard all-wheel drive is one of its trademarks.
    • Safety: Comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety features, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and pre-collision braking.
  2. Mazda CX-5
    • Description: A stylish compact SUV known for its agile handling and upscale interior.
    • Safety: Features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and emergency brake assist are standard. Some trims also have traffic sign recognition and front and rear parking sensors.
  3. Toyota RAV4
    • Description: One of the top-selling compact SUVs, it boasts a spacious interior and solid fuel efficiency.
    • Safety: Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite is standard, which includes a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, and adaptive cruise control.
  4. Honda CR-V
    • Description: A compact SUV known for its spacious interior, reliability, and strong resale values.
    • Safety: Comes with Honda Sensing, a suite that includes collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.
  5. Ford Edge
    • Description: A midsize SUV that offers a comfortable ride and a roomy cabin.
    • Safety: Standard features include post-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist.
  6. Volvo XC60 and XC90
    • Description: Luxury SUVs known for their elegant design, advanced tech features, and strong performance.
    • Safety: Volvo is known for safety. These models come with the IntelliSafe suite, which includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and run-off-road protection.
  7. Audi Q5 and Q7
    • Description: Luxury SUVs combining performance, tech, and a plush interior.
    • Safety: Features like Audi pre sense basic, which prepares the vehicle for an imminent collision, and Audi pre sense city, which can detect pedestrians and cyclists, are standard.
  8. Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
    • Description: A luxury midsize SUV offering robust performance, an upscale cabin, and cutting-edge technology.
    • Safety: Comes with Mercedes’ PRE-SAFE system, active brake assist, and blind-spot monitoring.
  9. BMW X3 and X5
    • Description: Luxury SUVs that offer dynamic performance, an upscale interior, and a suite of advanced tech features.
    • Safety: Equipped with features like frontal collision warning, automatic city collision mitigation, and lane departure warning.
  10. Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson
  • Description: Compact and midsize SUVs respectively, both are known for value, comfort, and a comprehensive feature list.
  • Safety: Hyundai’s SmartSense package includes features like forward-collision avoidance assist and lane-keeping assist.

The safety of these SUVs is enhanced by their advanced driver assistance systems, sturdy build, and extensive testing by manufacturers. Remember, while these features can assist the driver, they are not a replacement for attentive driving. Always drive cautiously and responsibly.

Which is safer a sedan or SUV?

The safety of a vehicle—be it a sedan or SUV—depends on various factors, including its design, size, weight, safety features, and the specific conditions of a collision. However, there are some general considerations when comparing sedans and SUVs in terms of safety:

  1. Center of Gravity & Rollover Risk: SUVs have a higher center of gravity compared to sedans, which means they can be more prone to rollovers in certain situations, especially during sharp turns or evasive maneuvers.
  2. Size and Weight: In a collision between a heavier SUV and a lighter sedan, the SUV will typically fare better simply because of its added mass. Physics dictates that in a crash between two vehicles of unequal mass, the lighter one will experience more force and thus more potential damage.
  3. Visibility: SUV drivers sit higher, which can offer a better field of view in traffic. However, this can also mean that SUV drivers might overlook smaller road users like pedestrians or cyclists.
  4. Safety Technology: Advanced safety technologies are available for both sedans and SUVs. The presence and effectiveness of safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control play a significant role in the overall safety of the vehicle, regardless of its type.
  5. Crashworthiness: Some modern SUVs are designed with crumple zones that help absorb the energy of a collision. While this is also true for sedans, the design and effectiveness of these zones can vary between models and manufacturers.
  6. Passenger Safety: When considering occupant safety in multi-vehicle accidents, SUVs might provide better protection simply because of their size and weight. However, in single-vehicle accidents, especially rollovers, sedans might pose less risk.
  7. Compatibility in Collisions: Due to the height and design of SUVs, if they collide with a sedan, they might override the sedan’s safety structures, leading to more severe injuries for sedan occupants.

When deciding between a sedan and an SUV, it’s essential to consider specific models and their safety ratings, features, and crash test results. Safety organizations like the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) provide valuable information and ratings for various vehicles, which can help in making an informed decision.

List of safest 7-seater SUVs in Canada

car safety

Several 7-seater SUVs have garnered attention for their safety features and ratings up until that time. Here’s a list, though it’s essential to check the latest ratings for the most current data:

  1. Volvo XC90:
    • Known for its emphasis on safety, the XC90 comes with a plethora of safety features, including the IntelliSafe suite, which has systems like City Safety (automatic emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist, and large animal detection).
  2. Audi Q7:
    • This luxury SUV is not only known for its performance but also its advanced safety tech, like Audi pre sense basic and city, which prepares the car for an imminent collision.
  3. Mercedes-Benz GLS:
    • The GLS boasts features like active brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, and Mercedes’ PRE-SAFE system.
  4. Tesla Model X:
    • While better known for its electric powertrain and falcon-wing doors, the Model X has also received high safety ratings, benefiting from its low center of gravity (thanks to the under-floor battery) and advanced safety tech.
  5. Toyota Highlander:
    • Reliable and family-friendly, the Highlander includes the Toyota Safety Sense suite, which has features like pre-collision with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control.
  6. Hyundai Palisade:
    • Hyundai’s larger SUV comes standard with a variety of safety features, including forward-collision avoidance assist, blind-spot collision avoidance, and lane following assist.
  7. Kia Telluride:
    • Similar in many ways to the Palisade, the Telluride boasts an array of safety features, including blind-spot detection and highway driving assist.
  8. Ford Explorer:
    • An old nameplate with modern safety, the Explorer offers features like Ford’s Co-Pilot360, which includes a pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.
  9. Mazda CX-9:
    • This 7-seater offers a suite of safety tech, including Mazda’s i-Activsense, which brings features like radar cruise control and smart brake support.
  10. Subaru Ascent:
  • With standard all-wheel drive and Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety features, the Ascent is built with safety in mind.

Hybrid vehicle list of safest 7 seater SUVs in Canada


Here’s a list of some safe 7-seater hybrid SUVs that were available in the Canadian market up until that time:

  1. Volvo XC90 T8:
    • The plug-in hybrid variant of the XC90 combines fuel efficiency with safety. Like its gasoline counterpart, the T8 comes equipped with the IntelliSafe suite of safety features.
  2. Toyota Highlander Hybrid:
    • Toyota has been a pioneer in hybrid technology with the Prius, and the Highlander Hybrid benefits from this experience. It offers the Toyota Safety Sense suite, including features like pre-collision with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control.
  3. Audi Q7 e-tron:
    • Though not as common as its gasoline counterpart, the Q7 e-tron is a plug-in hybrid with a diesel engine, combining efficiency with Audi’s suite of safety tech.
  4. Lexus RX 450hL:
    • The hybrid version of Lexus’s RX L series offers efficiency without compromising on the brand’s luxury and safety standards.
  5. BMW X5 xDrive45e:
    • The plug-in hybrid variant of the BMW X5, it comes equipped with a host of safety features, including frontal collision warning, automatic city collision mitigation, and lane departure warning.
  6. Mercedes-Benz GLS 580e (expected):
    • While the GLS 580e was expected, I recommend checking if it’s available in Canada. If it is, you can expect a plug-in hybrid system combined with Mercedes’ safety features like active brake assist and the PRE-SAFE system.
  7. Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e:
    • As a plug-in hybrid, it combines Land Rover’s off-road capability with urban efficiency. It includes safety features such as emergency braking, lane departure warning, and front and rear parking aids.
  8. Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring:
    • The plug-in hybrid variant of the Aviator, it offers a suite of safety tech under the Lincoln Co-Pilot360, including pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking.

Please note: While these models have hybrid variants and are recognized for their safety features and designs, it’s crucial to check the most recent safety ratings, reviews, and availability for the specific model year you’re interested in. Safety standards and vehicle designs can change year to year, and newer models might have improvements or additional features. Always consult local dealerships and safety ratings specific to Canada for the most up-to-date information.

Best luxury 7-seater SUV in Canada

safe journey

Several luxury 7-seater SUVs were highly regarded in the Canadian market. Here’s a list of some of the standout models:

  1. Volvo XC90:
    • Renowned for its safety and sleek Scandinavian design, the XC90 offers a plush interior and a range of powerful yet efficient engines, including a plug-in hybrid variant.
  2. Audi Q7:
    • The Q7 boasts a refined interior, advanced technology, and a smooth ride. Its quattro all-wheel drive is standard, ensuring good performance in various conditions.
  3. Mercedes-Benz GLS:
    • Often referred to as the “S-Class of SUVs,” the GLS offers a top-tier luxury experience, advanced tech features, and potent powertrain options.
  4. BMW X7:
    • BMW’s largest SUV, the X7, offers a mix of luxury, performance, and technology. With its spacious interior and advanced tech features, it stands out in the luxury segment.
  5. Lexus LX:
    • Known for its reliability and off-road capabilities, the LX combines luxury with ruggedness. Its V8 engine and advanced safety features make it a favorite among luxury SUV enthusiasts.
  6. Land Rover Range Rover Sport:
    • Combining off-road prowess with luxury, the Range Rover Sport offers a range of powerful engines, including a plug-in hybrid option, and a sophisticated interior.
  7. Lincoln Aviator:
    • The Aviator offers a mix of style, technology, and comfort. Its powerful turbocharged engines and plush interior make it a compelling option in the luxury segment.
  8. Cadillac Escalade:
    • A classic in the luxury SUV space, the redesigned Escalade boasts a tech-rich interior with features like the OLED infotainment screen and advanced driver assistance technologies.

Which is the safest SUV in the world?

safety level

Several SUVs have achieved top marks from these organizations. Some of the frequently lauded models for their safety include:

  1. Volvo XC90: Volvo has a longstanding reputation for emphasizing safety, and the XC90 is often highlighted for its comprehensive suite of safety features and robust construction.
  2. Mercedes-Benz GLE: The GLE has received high marks in various safety tests, and Mercedes-Benz has packed it with a plethora of safety tech.
  3. Audi Q7: Known for its advanced driver assistance systems and structural safety, the Q7 has been recognized by multiple safety organizations.
  4. Subaru Forester: Subaru’s emphasis on safety is evident in the Forester, with its EyeSight suite of safety features and excellent crash test performance.
  5. Mazda CX-5: Consistently receives high safety ratings and is equipped with a robust set of standard safety features.
  6. Tesla Model X: While better known for its electric powertrain and unique falcon-wing doors, the Model X has achieved high marks in safety tests, particularly for its low risk of rollover due to the battery’s placement, creating a low center of gravity.

To determine the “safest” SUV globally, one would need to aggregate data from various safety testing organizations worldwide, considering frontal impacts, side impacts, pedestrian safety, safety assist technologies, and more. It’s also worth noting that safety technology and vehicle designs are continuously evolving, so the rankings can change with new model years. Always check the latest test results and ratings from recognized organizations when prioritizing safety in a vehicle purchase.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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