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IIHS Top Safety Pick-Rated Compact SUVs for 2019

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author photo by Chris O'Neill September 2019

It's worth checking out the safety ratings of any vehicle that you're considering buying. Thanks to two agencies -- the federally run National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety -- it's now possible to get a pretty clear picture of how a vehicle ranks in relation to the rest of its class with regard to safety. Here, we'll take a look at the compact SUV segment and highlight those that earned either an IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating in testing conducted for the 2019 model year.

For the big picture and for a deeper dive into the scores outlined below, check out the institute's full list of small SUV testing results.

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester -- Top Safety Pick+ (for models built after January 2019 with specific headlights)

The 2019 Subaru Forester ranks as the best of the best, coming close to a perfect overall score in each of the IIHS's major testing categories: crashworthiness, front crash prevention, headlights and LATCH ease of use. It's worth noting, though, that the Forester's Top Safety Pick+ rating applies only to vehicles built after January 2019, and only to Limited and Touring trims built before February 2019. The Sport, Premium and Base trims were each dinged a bit for their headlights, which earned an Acceptable rating. Even with a less than perfect headlight rating, pre-2019 builds and lower-level trims still earned a Top Safety Pick award. Find a Subaru Forester for sale

Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 -- Top Safety Pick+ (with specific headlights)

Like the Forester, the RAV4 earned mostly perfect scores across the board -- except for its headlights. Only the Hybrid Limited trim with the adaptive front headlight package was awarded the Top Safety Pick+ rating. All other trims scored either Marginal or Poor -- the IIHS's worst ratings -- on headlight tests. Everywhere else, every 2019 RAV4 trim earned top marks for crashworthiness, front crash prevention, and LATCH ease of use. Find a Toyota RAV4 for sale

Hyundai Tuscon

Hyundai Tuscon -- Top Safety Pick+ (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

Tuscons built starting in April 2019 earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating, while vehicles built before April 2019 earned only a Top Safety Pick rating (which is still very respectable). Scores can change based on build date because automakers will often re-engineer a vehicle if IIHS testing returns less than desirable results. In the case of the Tuscon, vehicles built before April 2019 scored Poor or Acceptable ratings in the IIHS's original testing, which cost it a Top Safety Pick+ award. Hyundai appears to have gone back to the drawing board, adjusted the headlights and had the Tuscon retested, as the Tucson has now earned Good scores on all trim levels on all crashworthiness tests. Headlight test scores were a mixed bag: More expensive trims earned Good marks, but the lower-level SE, Value and SEL trims still got Poor marks. LATCH ease of use was determined to be Acceptable or Moderate on all tested trims. Find a Hyundai Tucson for sale

Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 -- Top Safety Pick+ (with specific headlights)

Every 2019 CX-5 trim earned top marks in every crashworthiness test. On the crash prevention tests, the CX-5's standard equipment was graded as advanced, the IIHS's second-best rating. The vehicle's standard Smart City Brake Support automatic emergency braking system passed the IIHS's 12 mph collision avoidance test, but it failed to reduce impact speed in the 25 mph test. (In other words: It didn't work.) The optional Smart City Brake Support offered on Touring and Grand Touring trims, though, passed both collision avoidance tests and received a grade of superior, the highest possible grade. Depending on the trim, headlights were deemed either Good or Acceptable, while the LATCH system was graded as Acceptable. Find a Mazda CX-5 for sale

Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee -- Top Safety Pick (for models built after April 2019 with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

While the IIHS counts the Cherokee as a midsize SUV, most reviewers and consumers consider it a compact SUV. The 2019 Cherokee earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS. It earned the highest possible scores for crashworthiness, front crash prevention and LATCH ease of use. Headlights were the only category in which the Cherokee comes up short. Cherokees built before April 2019 without the optional technology group package earned a score of Poor in headlight testing. Retesting on models built after April 2019 brought this score up to Marginal. Pre-April models with the technology group package earned a score of Marginal, thanks to their inclusion of automatic high beams. Post-April models with the technology group package were graded as Acceptable. Find a Jeep Cherokee for sale

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross -- Top Safety Pick (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

While it doesn't get the same consideration as compact SUVs from the likes of Toyota, Hyundai, Subaru, Honda and Mazda, the 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross performed pretty well in IIHS testing, earning Good scores in every crashworthiness test and in LATCH ease of use testing. Trims equipped with optional front crash prevention equipment earned top marks for front collision mitigation. Like many vehicles on this list, headlights were where the Eclipse Cross came up short. SEL models, which come with LED projector headlights, earned a score of Acceptable. Lesser trims, which come with basic halogen lights, were graded as Poor. Find a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross for sale

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V -- Top Safety Pick (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

Despite being an industry heavyweight, the 2019 CR-V misses out on a Top Safety Pick+ rating for two reasons. While it earned top scores on all six crash tests and offers front collision avoidance on most trims, the CR-V's available headlights fall short of IIHS standards. The LED headlights standard on Touring trim models were deemed Acceptable, while the halogen lights found on the EX, EX-L, and LX trims were only Marginal. The CR-V also earned a score of Acceptable for its LATCH system ease of use. Find a Honda CR-V for sale

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander -- Top Safety Pick (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights)

The Outlander is one of few compact SUVs to seat up to seven passengers, and it's the only one of those to earn a Top Safety Pick designation. Every 2019 Outlander earned top marks in all crashworthiness tests. It also earned a perfect score for its front crash prevention system, although this technology is optional. LATCH ease of use earns an Acceptable. The Outlander misses out on a perfect rating because of -- you guessed it -- its headlights, which failed to earn a score of Good on any trim level. Upper trims with LEDs and automatic high beams were graded as Acceptable, while those with LEDs but no automatic high beams earned a Marginal rating. The halogen lights offered on lesser trims earned a Poor rating. Find a Mitsubishi Outlander for sale

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IIHS Top Safety Pick-Rated Compact SUVs for 2019 - Autotrader
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