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2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings

2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings: Introducing the Safest Rides on the Market

Car buyers listen up!  Before you start configuring your next dream ride, ask yourself: where does it line up in the 2022 vehicle collision safety ratings?

We know, we know. Model, trim level, and paint colour are way sexier details than a crash rating. Even so, the colour of your car doesn’t matter much if you’re in a car accident your car can’t handle. 

Today, we’ll talk about the glamorous world of vehicle safety ratings. 

Not only can a higher rating mean a lowered risk of automobile accidents but it can also save you money on auto insurance. If those aren’t good enough reasons to care about vehicle crash ratings, we’re not sure what is.

Keep reading as we dive into how ratings are assigned, who assigns them, and which models made the list of safest vehicles for 2022. By the end, you’ll know what to look for when choosing your next (safest) vehicle. 

What are vehicle collision safety ratings?

What are vehicle collision safety ratings? - Damaged car/car accident

A safety rating is a score given to a vehicle that tells consumers how well it did on crash tests. 

More specifically, vehicle safety ratings tell car buyers something about a car’s safety and crash prevention features. 

In Canada, there are three organisations who are tasked with conducting vehicle testing and research, for assigning ratings, and for making sure the trucks and cars that make it to the Canada market are safety made.

In the next sections, we’ll introduce you to the three players of the vehicle safety world and explain what role they play. 

Who sets car safety ratings in Canada?

Who sets car safety ratings in Canada? - Totalled car

In Canada, there are three different organisations which work together to establish care safety ratings. They are: 

The first one on the list, the Government of Canada, oversees, unsurprisingly, a Canada-only car safety regulation.  

The second two, the NHTSA and IIHS, evaluate crashworthiness—or how well a vehicle protects its driver and its passengers during a crash.

We’ll cover each of these institutions in more detail next. 

The National Safety Mark (NSM)

The National Safety Mark (NSM) -Adult putting on seatbelt

The National Safety Mark (NSM) was established by the Government of Canada as a way of authorising manufacturers to sell new vehicles in Canada. 

The NSM is given out by the Minister of Transport in a permit-like fashion: 

  • If a manufacturer has been given permission to use the MSN, they can sell cars in Canada.
  • No mark, no selling.

Transport Canada requires manufacturers to show the mark on every vehicle they sell. Like a VIN number, every vehicle will have its own unique NSM.

The mark tells consumers a manufacturer follows Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR). As a car buyer, when you see an NSM on a new potential ride consider it a sign of safety and reliability.

NHTSA Safety Ratings

NHTSA Safety Ratings - Deployed airbag

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an American-based organisation that rates vehicles on their driver safety. 

How do they do this? Two words: Crash tests. 

Consider the NHTSA the crash test dummy experts. 

The NHTSA determines vehicle safety by performing four crash tests on them:

  • Frontal Crash Test
  • Side Barrier Crash Test
  • Side Pole Crash Test
  • Rollover Crash Test

Depending on how well a vehicle fares on these tests, it’s given a rating out of five stars. 

This leads us to the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) 5-Star Safety Ratings Program. What is it, how does it work, and how does it help car buyers? Let’s find out.   

What is the NHTSA 5-Star Safety Ratings Program?

What is the NHTSA 5-Star Safety Ratings Program? - Shaterred windshield

The NHTSA created the 5-Star Safety Ratings Program to:

  • Give car buyers information on how well a new vehicle protects occupants in a crash or rollover, 
  • Offer information about how much new vehicles outdo Federal (American) motor vehicle safety laws, and
  • Help consumers make better choices when it comes to choosing a safer vehicle. 

Since the 5-Star Safety Ratings program aims to judge vehicle crash safety, what do the stars mean?

  • 5-Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐: A 5-star rating is the highest rating given to a vehicle. It means—you guessed it—that a vehicle is one of the safest options on the market.
  • 1-Star ⭐: On the other end, a 1-star rating is the lowest rating on the scale. Avoid 1-star models as it means they’re severely lacking in collision and roll over protection. 

To help you remember the 5-Star Safety Ratings program system, memorise this motto: 

‘More stars equal safer cars’.

IIHS Safety Ratings

IIHS Safety Ratings - Car accident, crushed front bumper

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an American-based independent, nonprofit research and education organisation that works to improve automobile safety.

Because it doesn’t rely on government funding for their research, the IIHS can put vehicles through tougher testing. 

When the IIHS tests a vehicle’s safety, it looks at two things: 

  • Crashworthiness—how well a vehicle protects its driver and occupants in a crash, and 
  • Crash prevention and reduction—how well a vehicle uses technology to prevent or lessen a crash.

Unlike NHTSA testing, which uses four crash tests to evaluate car safety, the IIHS uses seven:

  • Frontal Crash Test
  • Side Crash Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Head Restraint And Seat Test
  • Front Crash Prevention Test
  • Headlight Evaluation
  • Latch Evaluation

How are the NHTSA and the IIHS alike? 

Answer: They both use a simple rating system to demonstrate whether or not a car is safe to drive.

Compared to the NHTSA, what type of rating system does the IIHS use to show vehicle safety? Answer: A colourful one. 

We’ll explain what we mean next.

How does the IIHS illustrate vehicle safety?

How does the IIHS illustrate vehicle safety? - Airbag

While the NHTSA uses one range to rank vehicles (stars), the IIHS uses two (colours and bars). 

  • Colours: Each colour represents a safety level. (Good 🟢, Acceptable 🟡, Marginal 🟠, and Poor 🔴), and 
  • Bars: Each additional bar represents a higher safety standing (Basic ❙, Advanced ❙❙, and Superior ❙❙❙)

Why two IIHS ranking systems? Some safety factors are judged using the colour ranking scale; other factors are graded using a bar ranking scale.

  • Colours speak to crashworthiness factors.
  • Bars speak to crash prevention and reduction factors.

What happens when you combine the two scales? You get the IIHF TOP SAFETY PICKS. 

More on this next.


IIHF TOP SAFETY PICKS - Little girl in a car seat

When you combine both of IIHS’s ranking systems, you get a IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK.

High crashworthiness (Good 🟢) + High crash prevention and reduction (Superior ❙❙❙) = IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK

The IIHS gives the safest cars its TOP SAFETY PICK award compared to the NHTSA, which would give the same vehicle 5-Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

But wait!—there’s more. 

The IIHS awards a ranking above its TOP SAFETY PICK: TOP SAFETY PICK+. There’s always room for a +!

What’s the difference between the two levels? Read on to find out.


TOP SAFETY PICK vs TOP SAFETY PICK+ - Male driver luxury vehicle

IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK (TSP) honours were first awarded in 2006, while the tougher TOP SAFETY PICK+ (TSP+) distinction was first granted in 2013.

In 2020, IIHS raised their safety standards making it even harder to reach TSP and TSP+ status. As you’d expect, the list of 2020 TSP+ award winners was much shorter than in 2019. 

It’s important to remember that: Because criteria change over time, you can’t compare model years when looking at safety ratings. 

How TSP and TSP+ ratings are awarded

TOP SAFETY PICK vs TOP SAFETY PICK+ - Infant asleep in car seat

To earn a IIHS TSP designation, a new vehicle must:

  • Earn a rating of ‘Good 🟢’ in every crash test, 
  • Earn an ‘Advanced ❙❙’ or ‘Superior ❙❙❙’ rating for front crash prevention—in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests—either through standard or optional collision prevention systems (like collision warning and automatic braking (ABS) systems), and 
  • Earn a score of ‘Good 🟢’ or ‘Acceptable 🟡’ for headlight performance, either through standard or optional lights.

By contrast, to earn a IIHS TSP+ award, winners need to:

  • Ace all the above PLUS (see where ranking gets its name!?) …
  • Get a ‘Good 🟢’ or ‘Acceptable 🟡’ grade for headlight performance as a standard feature across every trim level. No optional features count towards a TSP+ rating. 

The TSP+ rating demonstrates the importance the IIHS puts on automotive lighting. You can’t avoid an accident that you can’t see coming.  

How do TSP and TSP+ ratings differ across vehicle classes?

How do TSP and TSP+ ratings differ across vehicle classes? - Backseat

Both TSP and TSP+ awards identify the safest vehicle in every size category for a given year.

This doesn’t mean you can compare vehicle safety ratings between categories! On the contrary: ratings should only be used to weigh one vehicle against another in a certain class.

This makes sense when you consider:

  • Bigger, heavier vehicles generally protect occupants better than smaller, lighter ones.
  • What might qualify as a safe small car may not offer the same level of protection as a larger vehicle even if they’ve both achieved TSP+ status. 

When looking to buy a new car, consumers should pay double attention to what safety features come standard and which are optional on the vehicle they’re interested in. 

Do the NHTSA and IIHS evaluate vehicle safety differently?

Do the NHTSA and IIHS evaluate vehicle safety differently? - Girl and dog in back seat

The two organisations, NHTSA and IIHS, are similar in that they both look to rate cars for overall safety.

That’s where the similarities end though.

Despite the fact that both organisations aim to rate car crash performance, they do so in a very different way. For example: 

  • For the rollover test 
    • The NHTSA version looks at how well a vehicle resists flipping over
    • The IIHS’ version, on the other hand, gauges roof strength. It tests how likely a car roof will collapse in a rollover. 

Generally speaking, if a vehicle rates well with one organisation, it should rate well on the other’s—although not always. 

Finally, be mindful that neither the HNSTA nor the IIHS can test all the cars on the market; that would be impossible—there are too many. 

Having said that, they do scrutinise the most popular models. Chances are, the model you pick will have been inspected by both organisations. 

What vehicle collision safety ratings mean to the consumer

What vehicle collision safety ratings mean to the consumer - Black male driver

We recommend consumers learn about individual automaker’s safety standards. Not all of them design their vehicles to exceed standards. Their goal is to stay competitive in the marketplace and offering more than the minimum can reduce their ability to compete.

It’s up to the car buyer to do their due diligence when looking to buy the safest car possible.

Where can you find vehicle collision safety ratings?

Where can you find vehicle collision safety ratings? - Speed gauge/driver

If you’re in the market for a new car, here are four ways you can use to find vehicle collision safety ratings:

  1. Visit the car manufacturer’s website
  2. Check the NHTSA ratings database
  3. Check the IIHS ratings database
  4. Visit car review sites. Examples: Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, J.D. Power, Kelley Blue Book, Motor Trend, and US News Cars.

Now that we’ve covered safety ratings, how they’re assigned, and where you can find them, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for:

Time to announce the 2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings winners! 

Read on to find out which rides made the list. 

2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings: The Winners

2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings: The Winners

Vehicle collision safety ratings are divided by vehicle type, size, and class. From sedans and hatchbacks, to luxury rides to family-friendly options, the list has something for everybody.

Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2022 IIHF TSP+ vehicle collision safety ratings divided by class. 

We begin with the small car category. 

2022 Small Car Category Winners

2022 Small Car Category Winners - Honda

The small car category combines both sedans and hatchbacks. 

  • A sedan has four doors with a traditional trunk. 
  • Hatchbacks also have four doors but a flip-up back door, or hatch. The perk of having a hatch is easier access to the car’s rear—and often larger—cargo space.  

This category also includes everything from subcompact options (e.g., Hyundai Accent, Kia Soul) to compact versions (Honda Civic, Mazda3).

Which small cars made the 2022 vehicle collision safety ratings winners list?

Which small cars made the 2022 vehicle collision safety ratings winners list? - Mazda

Recall what we said earlier though: larger cars tend to be safer. With that in mind, don’t expect to see many subcompact cars on the winners’ list—and there aren’t in 2022. 

Here are the victors:

  1. 2022 Honda Civic 4-Door Hatchback & Sedan
  2. 2022 Honda Insight 4-Door Sedan
  3. 2022 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid 4-Door Wagon
  4. 2022 Toyota Corolla 4-Door Hatchback & Sedan
  5. 2022 Mazda 3 4-Door Hatchback & Sedan

2022 Midsize And Large Car Category Winners

2022 Midsize And Large Car Category Winners - Subaru

Need more space than what’s offered in a small car? Enter the midsize and large categories. 

These big boys also come in sedan and hatchback versions and, for those who want even more cargo space, a wagon type. 

The heroes of the midsize car category for 2022 include all three versions:

  1. 2022 Honda Accord 4-Door Sedan
  2. 2022 Kia K5 4-Door Sedan
  3. 2022 Nissan Maxima 4-Door Sedan
  4. 2022 Subaru Outback 4-Door Wagon
  5. 2022 Toyota Camry 4-Door Sedan

Which large car topped the rest in 2022 for safety rating?

Which large car topped the rest in 2022 for safety rating? - Kia

Where large vehicles are concerned only one reached TSP+ status. The sole winner of the 2002 Large Car Category is the:

2022 SUV Category Winners

2022 SUV Category Winners - Volvo

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are like stylised and sportier minivans. Or, maybe it’s better to describe them as beefier, taller cars with more ground clearance. How about practical jeeps? However you choose to describe them, SUVs are a popular choice among new car buyers.

SUVs come with all-wheel drive, station wagon-like cargo space, a flip up rear hatch, and more passenger room. 

Due to their extreme popularity, they’re now offered in subcompact, small, mid-size, and large-size versions. Want something swankier? You can find luxury options in every size category. 

Here is a random selection of the 2022 Small SUV Category Winners:

  1. 2022 Ford Bronco Sport 4-Door SUV
  2. 2022 Hyundai Tucson 4-Door SUV
  3. 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander 4-Door SUV
  4. 2022 Mazda CX-5 4-Door SUV
  5. 2022 Volvo XC40 4-Door SUV

Which SUVs were named winners in 2022 for vehicle collision safety ratings?

Which SUVs were named winners in 2022 for vehicle collision safety ratings? - Toyota

For those who want a bigger vehicle for their adventures, may we recommend a medium or large-sized SUV?

Below is a random selection of the 2022 Medium SUV Category winners circle…

  1. 2022 Ford Explorer 4-Door SUV
  2. 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe 4-Door SUV
  3. 2022 Nissan Murano 4-Door SUV
  4. 2022 Toyota Highlander 4-Door SUV
  5. 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 4-Door SUV

… and here is the lone winner of the 2022 Large SUV Category:

2022 Minivan Category Winners

2022 Minivan Category Winners - Crystler

Minivans are the family-carriers of the car world. We’re not sure why they’re called minivans because they’re far from “mini.” 

These vehicles are identifiable by their second and third row adjustable and removable seats, huge cargo bay, boxy exterior, sliding side doors, and rear hatch.

If you’re looking to buy a minivan for the family, here are three that were names safest for 2022:

  1. 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Minivan
  2. 2022 Honda Odyssey Minivan
  3. 2022 Toyota Sienna Minivan

2022 Midsize And Large Luxury Category Winners

2022 Midsize And Large Luxury Category Winners - Tesla

From minivans to luxury vehicles, our next category includes models that make the heart race when we step on the gas pedal. 

Luxury vehicles have lost their appeal compared to SUVs in recent years. Nonetheless, this category of car includes some of the safest—and highest tech!—on the market.

The 2022 winners list of safest midsize luxury cars is long. We’ve included a random selection here:

  1. 2022 Lexus ES 350 4-Door Sedan
  2. 2022 Tesla Model 3 4-Door Sedan
  3. 2022 Volvo S60 4-Door Sedan, Regular & Recharge Versions 

The 2022 large luxury car safety rating winners 

The 2022 large luxury car safety rating winners - Mercedes

For the large luxury vehicle category, where the competition is less, three cars made the 2022 vehicle safety winner’s circle:

  1. 2022 Audi A6 4-Door Sedan
  2. 2022 Genesis G80 4-Door Sedan
  3. 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4-Door Sedan

2022 Midsize Luxury SUV Category Winners

2022 Midsize Luxury SUV Category Winners - Lexus

Why not adventure in style? Many luxury car manufacturers offer high-end SUVs options—and they’re some of the safest vehicles on the market. Here’s a random selection of the 2022 TSP+ winners:

  1. 1. 2022 Acura MDX 4-Door SUV
  2. 2. 2022 Acura MDX 4-Door SUV
  3. 3. 2022 Lexus NX Plug-in Hybrid 4-Door SUV
  4. 4. 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class 4-Door SUV
  5. 5. 2022 Tesla Model Y 4-Door SUV

2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings: What’s Missing

2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings: What’s Missing

We’ve reached the end of our car class list for the 2022 vehicle collision safety ratings winners. Can you tell what’s missing?

There are no pickup trucks on the TSP+ list. Why? Headlights. Headlights. Headlights. 

There are, however, small and large pickups that made the TSP list. How come? Headlights. 

Have we made our point about the importance of proper headlights? Good. 

Now, here are the four pickup trucks that made the cut for the 2022 TSP list:

For a full list of 2022 IIHS winners, visit to their website

2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings: The verdict

2022 Vehicle Collision Safety Ratings

We hope our chat about vehicle safety collision ratings, who rates them, and how they do it has empowered you to make a safer choice the next time you head to the dealership.

Plus, take this as a friendly reminder that maintaining vehicle safety starts and stops with proper maintenance, pun intended. Bring your ride into JD Collision for a routine maintenance and a proper safety check. 

Contact us today to book. 

Safe travels,
The Team at CJC Collision.