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Safest SUVs of 2019

As you shop for a new SUV in Canada, there are a lot of factors to consider. You have a whole array of options to choose from, and they’re not all equal. This is especially true when it comes to safety.

A safe SUV protects you and your loved ones in two ways. Proactive safety equipment works to keep you from getting in dangerous situations, like advanced technologies which warn about a possible collision.

More passive safety features work to keep you safe during and directly after a crash. This can include airbags and reinforcements to the vehicle structure.

We detail the safest SUVs of 2019, taking into account both the proactive and passive safety equipment, so you can make an educated decision. After reading through this list, you’ll know which SUV models are the best choices on the market today.

Selecting a Safe SUV

If you’re like most people, safety is always in the back of your mind. When you get in your car, you use the seatbelt to stay securely in your seat. It only makes sense that while you shop for a new SUV, you look for an option which provides the best safety for your money.

Driving in the rain

Thanks to a number of factors in Canada, such as the harsh winter weather, you can face quite a few hazards on the road. While it may be impossible to be prepared to every emergency situation, the following 2019 model year SUVs will give you the best chance of either avoid a collision or walking away from one. This guide will help you choose something safe while shopping for a new SUV.

Honda CR-V

Many Canadians have grown to love the Honda CR-V for several good reasons. To start, it’s not too large, so parking in tight spots isn’t a problem. At the same time, interior space is good enough to comfortably fit four adults, plus a fair amount of cargo. In addition, it’s attractive and reliable, plus you can get some nice cutting-edge technologies.

Speaking of technologies, Honda offers some solid ways to avoid accidents. The Honda Sensing systems act like extra eyes, like forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. Providing even more peace of mind is the available HondaLink Assist Automatic Emergency Response System, which automatically calls for help once an airbag deploys, all without a subscription.

Honda takes safety a step further with the Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. Its design disperses energy from a frontal crash, all with the goal of keeping everyone injury-free in a collision. On top of that, this SUV comes with six airbags standard, including side curtains which deploy in a rollover or side crash.

Hyundai Kona

While new to the Hyundai lineup, the Kona has already been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Both stylish and affordable, people are attracted to the practical utility this SUV offers. It also helps that the Kona is quite affordable, making the shopping experience less stressful. There’s plenty of love about this cool and modern SUV, even beyond the fun aspects.

The Kona features Hyundai SmartSense, or an array of safety innovations which were designed to make this vehicle a standout. Among these optional technologies is forward collision-avoidance assist, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, blind spot collision warning, driver attention warning, and other systems which watch for dangerous situations, warning the driver or acting to avoid an accident, or both.

Driving in the snow


The SuperStructure vehicle chassis uses advanced high-strength steel to make it stiffer and stronger than if it were made of conventional steel. It has a design engineered to absorb impacts in the front and rear, sending crash forces away from the cabin where the driver and passengers sit.

Kia Sportage

There’s no denying the current Kia Sportage is light years ahead of the first generation of this SUV. It looks more stylish than ever, can be loaded with all kinds of luxuries you might not even associate with the Kia brand, and packs serious performance with the optional turbo engine.

Not only do you get all that, the Kia Sportage scores well in crash tests and accident avoidance. An array of standard and available systems helps make the Sportage something you can feel confident driving. Systems like electronic stability control, downhill brake control, vehicle stability management, and hill assist control help keep the SUV upright, even as you travel through uneven terrain.

Add the rear cross traffic alert as a way to be extra watchful when backing out of a parking space. Sensors in the rear bumper monitor for movements indicating another car is approaching from either side, warning you of the hidden danger. It’s a great way to avoid a common accident. Other advanced systems, like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection also work to keep you as the driver more aware of everything happening.

Mazda CX-5

With a reputation for making cars and SUVs which are sporty and fun to drive, you might not think of Mazda as a safety-oriented brand. The CX-5 certainly isn’t an exception when it comes to having fun in the driver’s seat, but this SUV is also incredibly safe.

IIHS singled it out as a Top Safety Pick+, which is an incredible honor. One of the many improvements included in the Mazda CX-5 is the G-Vectoring Control Plus. This system works to improve steering precision and even eliminate the need to constantly make corrections because of imperfections in the road’s surface.

Canadians can definitely appreciate the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system, which is ideally suited for a range of conditions. The system uses 27 different sensors to monitor all kinds of factors, including if you’re using the windshield wipers and what temperature it is outside, improving its response to your need for improved handling. In addition, the system has been tuned to constantly send at least some torque to the rear wheels, helping it to be more responsive in emergency situations.

These factors and a whole array of driver assistance technologies make the Mazda CX-5 an SUV you can feel good about driving.

Subaru Ascent

It used to be that Canadians who loved Subaru had to choose something else if they wanted a three-row SUV. The Ascent changed everything, providing seating for up to eight people, plus a nice amount of cargo space. It can be outfitted with everything you need to accommodate your family, including an 8-inch infotainment system with navigation, three-zone climate control, heated front and second-row seats, and so much more.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning the Subaru Ascent is a Top Safety Pick+ with IIHS, a testament to how well this SUV will protect your family. The team at Subaru worked hard to make the Ascent an especially safe vehicle to operate, engineering the SUV for optimal driver visibility in any direction. Add the 180-degree front camera and Smart Rearview Mirror to help further with spotting dangers you might otherwise miss.

The Subaru EyeSight driver assistance technologies help, adding options like pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, sway warning, etc. to make drivers more aware of dangers and help them keep everyone safe.

Acura RDX

Another Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS, the Acura RDX is an excellent choice for any Canadian looking for a safe SUV. When equipped with the optional Jewel Eye LED headlights, you enjoy excellent visibility, but without blinding other drivers. Each headlight contains seven LED lamps, providing excellent illumination. Around back, LED taillights really stand out, so other drivers can clearly see what you’re doing.

The AcuraLink system helps with things like locking or unlocking the doors remotely, plus it helps in the unfortunate event of an accident. Automatic collision notification means you can get help quicker, which is a nice reassurance.

A surround view camera system helps you to see everything immediately around the Acura RDX. The six exterior cameras combine with parking sensors to help you avoid hitting obstacles, while dynamic guidelines allow you to see where the SUV is going. There’s even a washer for the rear camera, just in case the lens gets dirty.

Under the AcuraWatch name, the RDX can be outfitted with all kinds of driver assistance technologies. They include systems you can find in many other SUVs, like forward collision warning and lane departure warning, plus other you might not expect, such as road departure mitigation.

Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

If you want a truly luxurious SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is a great option. It comes with all the pampering features you could possibly want, including supple leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, and more. You can also choose either a regular direct injection biturbo engine or a plug-in hybrid, which pushes efficiency to amazing heights.

On the safety side of things, the GLE-Class is excellent. Standard active LED headlamps help you to see clearly, even in the notoriously bad Canadian winter weather. You also get LED taillamps standard, which shine brightly enough other drivers can see your SUV, when you’re braking, and if you’re signaling quite clearly.

Every GLE-Class comes with 4Matic all-wheel drive, which is a real help on slipper roads. Even in dry conditions, the SUV handles better, so you’re less likely to crash. It’s easy to see why Canadians who want the best in luxury and safety choose the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.


BMW is well-known for making some of the most engaging cars in the history of the automotive industry. That spirit of excellent driving dynamics has passed down even to the brand’s SUVs, including the X3. Making it even more attractive, the BMW X3 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

While the BMW X3 comes with plenty of systems designed to keep you safe, like other SUVs on the market, the brand also emphasizes the enjoyment of driving. That balance manifests in the BMW Personal CoPilot with Driving Assistant Plus, which helps the driver navigate certain roads in conditions like heavy traffic, so the trip is less tiring.

BMW interior


A full-colour head-up display keeps important information right in the driver’s line of sight. That means you don’t need to look down to see vehicle speed, navigation directions, and safety alerts. It’s a great way to keep your attention on the road, where it’s needed most.

Honda Pilot

You might already think of the Honda Pilot as an attractive three-row SUV which also promises excellent reliability. What you might not know is it’s also reliable when it comes to safety. Like many other SUVs on this list, the Honda Pilot has been given Top Safety Pick+ status by IIHS.

The Honda Sensing suite of technologies helps drivers to avoid common accidents. It bundles together features like forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control for a comprehensive approach to safety.

Like other Hondas, the Pilot uses a next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure to absorb crash forces. Zones in the front and rear crumple, keeping impact forces from reaching the seating areas so hopefully everyone walks away from an accident. In addition, the hood and front fenders are designed to keep pedestrians safer in a collision.

If you connect your phone to the HondaLink system, it can automatically call for help after a crash. Once an airbag deploys, this feature will attempt to put you in touch with an operator who can provide your location to first responders.

Many people choose SUVs not only for their increased utility, but also the perception that they’re safer options than cars. Not all SUVs are created equal when it comes to safety, but choosing any of the above options will help protect you and your passengers. Armed with this knowledge, you’re better prepared to select the right SUV to buy.

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