The Safest New SUVs and Minivans of 2023 – Kelley Blue Book

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2022 Toyota Sienna Platinum in gray.
To say today’s SUVs and minivans drive safer than those of, let’s say, 10 years ago isn’t nonsense. Not only did the recent crop of advanced safety features find their way into both segments, but the materials forming the vehicle structures of today are stronger.
Moreover, techniques to direct the force of crashes to areas of the frame and body where it will do the least harm constantly evolve and improve. Yes, today’s SUVs and minivans drive safer than those of decades past.
However, the war isn’t won. Crashes still happen, injuries occur, and lives get lost on the streets, roads, and highways every day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 42,795 people died in traffic accidents in 2022.
The reality is that some SUVs and minivans provide you with a better chance of walking away from a crash or avoiding one altogether than others. Those are the vehicles on our list. Read on to learn which SUVs and minivans we consider to be the safest and why.
We based our safest SUVs and minivans list on those with perfect crash test and safety scores from NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both organizations evaluate the safety of vehicles through crash and safety testing. We go into more detail about how they conduct those tests below.
Now, we have the list of what the IIHS and NHTSA believe are the safest models. However, we took the list a step further. We narrowed down our picks to a specific trim level within each model, providing the most standard and available advanced safety technology and features. We also weighed the level of safety equipment against price to determine the best safety value.
Several safety features we take for granted, like stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitors, and antilock brakes, are now government-mandated. By federal law, carmakers must make them standard for every new car, light truck, minivan, and SUV.
The government also mandates airbags. However, that mandate only includes the two front airbags to protect the driver and front passenger. Many of today’s passenger vehicles provide at least six airbags. In addition to the two front airbags, you also find two front side-impact and two side curtain airbags. Every model on this list has at least six airbags. We note those models with more than six.
Rear occupancy alert
We are convinced that advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are critical in the safety of you and your family when in your SUV or minivan. In research published in August of 2023, AAA reported that 37 million crashes could be prevented over the next 30 years with the widespread adoption of ADAS. Moreover, preventing those millions of crashes could save 250,000 lives while preventing 14 million injuries. Consequently, ADAS ranks high in our consideration when picking our list of safest SUVs and minivans.
To determine the safest trim-level value within each model, we balanced the price against the safety content in the vehicles. We looked closely at the advanced active safety technologies and other features providing an extra degree of protection. Among the active advanced safety features we considered include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. Other features we believe contribute to the safe operation of an SUV and minivan include LED headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a head-up display.
Here’s the list of the more prominent advanced safety and driver-assistance technologies we looked for. Different carmakers have various names for the technologies we list here; however, we use popular industry names.
Note: For the sake of brevity, we use the acronym (in parentheses after the full name) in our vehicle descriptions.
The IIHS and NHTSA remain the most universally acknowledged crash and safety testing experts. Here is a summary of their processes.
Independent and nonprofit, the IIHS gains its funding from auto insurers and insurance associations. It performs four core crash tests on cars, light trucks, minivans, and SUVs that were key to our research. They include a driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side overlap front, moderate overlap front, and side. The side protocol tests both the driver and passenger side; therefore, you could technically call the side protocol two tests for a total of five.
A vehicle can earn a score of Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. Every model on our list earned the highest score of Good for every testing scenario.
TIP: IIHS changed its side crash-test protocol in 2021, using a heavier ram. Although the results of this new version of the test were shown in some vehicles’ results in the past couple of years, 2023 is the first year the IIHS figured those results into a vehicle’s scoring. Consequently, testing and finalizing the 2023 scores has required extra time. This, combined with the ongoing difficulty of the IIHS and NHTSA acquiring vehicles for testing, has slowed the testing process considerably. We expected many of last year’s SUVs to remain on our 2023 safest list. However, a few simply didn’t qualify, while others are still in the testing phase. Below, we also include a list of last year’s safest SUVs not on our 2023 list, but that still may qualify once testing is complete.
In addition to the crash tests, the IIHS assesses other features as they apply to safety. For example, headlights, vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention, and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention. Scoring for this group of tests tops out at Superior, descending to Advanced and Basic. The IIHS also considers the LATCH child-seat systems.
Only SUVs and minivans scoring the highest marks in both the crash and safety scenarios earn the IIHS most coveted safety awards of Top Safety Pick (TSP) and Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+). Every one of our picks is a TSP+.
Note: When the IIHS tests vehicles, they treat plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV) as distinct models, scoring them separately from the ICE (internal combustion engine) models. However, IIHS views hybrid models that don’t require charging through an outside source as a trim level of the ICE model. That means that if a gas-powered model made this list with a TSP+ rating, its hybrid version did, too.
Because of the changes in the IIHS testing protocols, we thought it important to include a list of our 2022 Safest SUVs and Minivans that could still qualify for 2023. We’ve split the list into two parts. First are the vehicles somewhere in the testing process. Next, are vehicles for which testing has yet to begin. We will update this story as the IIHS announces results for those still in testing.
Testing Ongoing
Not Yet in Testing
NHTSA is an agency of the federal Department of Transportation. Only performing front and side crash tests, NHTSA uses a 1- to 5-Star scoring system. The highest score is the 5-Star rating.
The front crash-test protocol is running a vehicle into a fixed barrier at 35 miles per hour. NHTSA combines the results of side-barrier and driver’s-door side-pole crashes to arrive at a side crash score. There is also a rollover scenario in which NHTSA doesn’t perform a crash test. Instead, it tests vehicles for their likelihood of rolling over. Stars are awarded for the rollover test, as well.
Every SUV on this list boasts an overall 5-Star rating. However, there are a handful of SUVs on this list that NHTSA has yet to test. For the most part, they are new or redesigned models not yet tested. We include those here on the strength of their IIHS score and note the lack of a government rating in the description.
2023 Acura MDX in yellow.
Completely redesigned last year, the 3-row luxury Acura MDX shines for its roomy cabin and bundle of advanced technologies. Acura provides every MDX with seven airbags, hill-start assist, a rear camera washer, heated outboard mirrors, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also included are auto on-off LED headlights and high-beam assist. Every MDX also provides the AcuraWatch bundle of advanced safety and driver-aid technologies. Included are LDW with steering assist, LKA, and ACC with TJA. BSM and RCTA are standard, as well.
Stepping up a notch to the MDX with Technology Package ($54,250) gains a little more advanced tech. Front/rear park assist with full-braking assist, rain-sensing wipers, and AcuraLink with Real-Time Traffic are included. We don’t think that extra $4,700 makes value sense in terms of safety gained. We recommend going with the base MDX. If you consider all-wheel drive (AWD) a safety item, you can pick up Acura’s impressive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive for $2,200.
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2023 Acura RDX in blue.
A relatively roomy 5-passenger SUV, the Acura RDX presents a value in the small luxury SUV arena with impressive reliability and solid resale values. Acura arms every RDX with eight airbags, hill-start assist, high-beam assist, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. LED exterior lights (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights) are standard as well.
Every RDX also features the AcuraWatch bundle of safety and driver aid technologies. These include LDW with steering assist, and LKA. Other AcuraWatch systems are ACC, TSR, and front/rear park assist with automatic braking. BSM and RCTA are standard, too. Although the next trim level up (RDX with Technology) provides a boatload of solid comfort and convenience features, none of them add much to the RDX safety story. Our value safety pick is the base RDX.
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2023 Audi Q4 e-tron in silver.
Different body configurations of the same SUV, the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback were all-new for 2022. Opting for the 2023 Sportback adds $8,400 to the bottom line. Fully electric, the 2023 Q4 e-tron is brimming with safety features and tech from our recommended list. Standard on the entry-level Premium grade are front/rear park assist, rain-sensing wipers, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, LED headlights, and high-beam assist. Eight airbags are also included. Among its safety tech are LDW, RCTA, and BSM.
Stepping up to the Premium Plus ($56,000) trim gains you ACC, LCA, and better LED headlights. Although there are lots of other goodies added by moving up a trim level, many of them are included in the Premium’s $2,500 Convenience Package option. Among the features in the option package are auto-dimming interior rearview and outboard mirrors. Our recommendation is to stay with the Premium trim for the best safety value.
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2023 Audi RS Q8 in blue parked next to a white fence.
The reining flagship of Audi’s SUVs, the Q8 drapes its stunning interior with a sporty, head-turning wrapper. It steers, corners, and generally performs more like a sport sedan than an SUV. But enough gushing over the Q8’s appearance and performance. On to its safety creds. Although NHTSA hasn’t scored the Audi Q8, we included it on this list on the strength of the IIHS TSP+ award. Even in its entry-level Premium trim, the Q8 delivers many of our listed safety features. For example, it includes auto on/off HD Matrix design LED headlights, headlight washers, high-beam assist, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. An auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, and eight airbags are standard, too.
Among the Premium’s safety tech are BSM, RCTA with automatic braking, LDW, and front/rear park assist. For $1,950, you can add the Convenience package. It gains you ACC, LKA with steering assist, and a surround-view camera. We think the Convenience Package is a bargain; consequently, we recommend it with the Premium grade.
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2024 Audi Q8 e-tron in white.
Yes, this SUV is a 2024, but there is more to the story. Mid-year, Audi decided to change the name of the e-tron to the Q8 e-tron, bringing it into compliance with Audi’s current model designations. In the process, it beefed up the battery array to boost the minimum estimated range from 222 miles to 300 miles. Audi made some other performance enhancements, as well. It stopped building the 2023 e-tron and started building and marketing the 2024 Q8 e-tron. For the purposes of our Safest SUVs list, both the 2023 e-tron and the 2024 Q8 e-tron are TSP+ award winners. NHTSA scored the 2023 e-tron with 5 Stars. It hasn’t tested the 2024 Q8 e-tron. All that follows here is for the 2024 Q8 e-tron.
Opting for the Sportback will set you back another $3,400. Every Q8 e-tron comes standard with AWD. Among our listed safety features, the Q8 e-tron includes auto on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, auto-dimming rearview mirrors (inside and outboard), and eight airbags. The list of safety tech is equally impressive. It contains LKA, LDW, front/rear park assist, ACC with steering assist, BSM, and RCTA. Moving up to the Premium Plus ($78,800) adds a surround-view camera, matrix-design LED headlights, and TSR. We’d save the $3,400 and stick with the Premium trim.
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2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i
BMW redesigned the 5-seat X1 for 2023, giving its smallest SUV a larger footprint in the process. Not only is it wider and taller than its predecessor, its wheelbase and overall length are stretched, as well. Both passenger space and cargo capacity make gains, too. We were so smitten with the reimagined BMW X1 that we named it our Subcompact Luxury SUV Best Buy of 2023. The X1 is one of the SUVs on the list yet to be rated by NHTSA. Because it is a TSP+, and the previous X1 boasted a 5-Star overall NHTSA rating, we’ve included it here.
BMW offers the AWD X1 in a solitary trim level but provides several option packages to gussy it up. The X1 has several of our recommended safety features as standard. They consist of auto on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, and rain-sensing wipers. Among the safety tech are BSM, RCTA, LDW, and front-rear park alert. We’d opt for the Active Driving Assistant Pro option package. It’s a bargain at $1,700, delivering ACC with stop-and-go. It also includes LKA with steering, TJA, and front cross-traffic alert.
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2023 Honda CR-V in gray.
Undergoing a full makeover for 2023, the Honda CR-V bested many of its rivals by making the TSP+ list. NHTSA has yet to rate it; however, we fully expect it to earn a 5-Star overall rating. More interior room and better in-cabin tech were added benefits of the redesign. We give credit where credit is due and named the 2023 CR-V our Compact SUV Best Buy of 2023.
Even in its base LX form, the CR-V comes with auto on/off LED headlights, outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, automatic brake hold, hill-start assist, and high-beam assist. Among its standard safety tech are LDW with steering assist, LKA, and ACC. TJA, TSR, and DMS are also standard. We believe BSM and RCTA are critical enough to warrant spending another $2,650 for the EX trim.
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2023 Honda HR-V
Honda redesigned the HR-V for 2023 and, in doing so, built it on the platform used by the Civic. Not only does this mean the newest HR-V provides a bit more interior space, but it delivers a smoother ride. You might not expect a $24,000 SUV to provide a lot of our recommended safety features and tech. However, the base HR-V LX delivers several of them. They include on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, and hill start assist. Among the safety technologies are LKA, ACC, TJA, and TSR. Nine airbags are located around the cabin.
To gain BSM, RCTA, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, you must step up to the Sport grade ($25,900). We don’t think it’s worth spending yet another $2,000 for the front/rear park alert that comes with the EX-L trim. Consequently, we recommend the HR-V Sport.
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2023 Honda Pilot Elite AWD in grey near hills.
This has been a very busy year for Honda. In addition to the HR-V and CR-V, the Pilot is also new for 2023. Its rugged exterior styling surrounds the most family-friendly Pilot yet. The new model is roomier and includes a handy new feature that lets you choose between 7- and 8-passenger seating on the fly. It also comes standard with an impressive roster of helpful features.
The base-model Pilot, the LX, comes nicely equipped. The Honda Sensing suite of safety features comes standard, as well as high-beam assist, hill descent control, and hill start assist. Honda Sensing includes FCW, LKA, ACC, LDW, TJA, and TSR. It has eight airbags, including an innovative 3-chamber front-side airbag. To get a Cross-Traffic Monitor, BSM, remote start, and LED fog lights, you’ll have to spend the extra $3,200 to get the Sport. However, that trim level also adds a 10-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar and a 4-way power front passenger seat.
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2023 Hyundai Palisade in black.
A terrific value, the 3-row Hyundai Palisade provides a wealth of standard features, including a few on our recommended list. Hyundai gave the Palisade a bit of a makeover for 2023. Among our sought-after features are auto on-off LED headlights, high-beam assist, hill-start assist, and seven airbags. Also standard are heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. Leading off its list of advanced safety technologies are BSM with steering assist, RCTA with automatic braking, rear park assist, ACC, LFA, LKA, DMS, and safe-exit assist.
Stepping up to the SEL grade doesn’t add anything to the safety story; however, with the SEL trim level, the $4,950 Premium Package is available. It adds Highway Driving Assist, BSM display, a surround-view camera, JTA, and a few other goodies. However, that’s a total price tag of $45,185. Consequently, we don’t think moving up to the SEL makes sense as far as added safety versus value is concerned. Stay with the SE.
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The 2023 Infiniti QX 60 in red seen from a front quarter angle
A sporty-looking 3-row luxury SUV, the Infiniti QX60 is a hoot to drive under any conditions and rather impressive in the snow when armed with available AWD. It launched in its current generation last year; therefore, everything feels fresh and up to date. Competitively priced for a luxury SUV, the QX60 is smartly outfitted with several of our suggested safety features, even in its entry-level Pure trim. For example, they include rain-sensing wipers, hill-start assist, auto on/off LED headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10 airbags, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. Among the standard safety tech are BSM and RCTA with automatic emergency braking. It also comes with high-beam assist, LDW, and rear park assist.
Infiniti doesn’t offer any options for the Pure; consequently, you must move up to the Luxe grade to gain a surround-view camera, LKA, TSR, and front park assist. BSM with steering assist, ACC, and auto-dimming outboard mirrors are also standard with Luxe. Stepping up to the Luxe also includes navigation-based ProPilot that helps the driver steer, brake, and accelerate the QX60 under certain conditions. Our advice is to pick the Luxe grade.
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2023 Kia Telluride X-Line in gray near volley ball courts.
Winner of our 2023 3-Row SUV Best Buy Award, the Kia Telluride represents everything most families want or need in a large SUV. Kissing cousin to the Hyundai Palisade, the Telluride combines handsome styling with a smooth ride and cutting-edge technology. Oddly, even though Kia introduced the current generation in 2018, NHTSA has yet to award the Telluride an overall safety rating. However, the Palisade has a 5-Star NHTSA rating; consequently, we are relatively sure the Telluride will eventually get the same.
The good news for Telluride shoppers is the entry-level LX trim comes loaded with many of our suggested safety features and tech. For example, navigation-based ACC, auto on/off projector LED headlights, high-beam assist, hill-start assist, and safe-exit assist are standard. Heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals and seven airbags are standard, too. In its Drive Wise bundle of safety tech, Kia includes JTA, and LDW. LFA, LKA, BSM, and RCTA. You need to step up to the $41,490 EX to gain the auto-dimming rearview mirror, which you can add to the LX for $350. Stay with the LX for the best safety value.
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2023 Lexus NX in black.
Lexus added the all-new range-topping NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid (PHEV) last year. But even the entry-level NX 250 provides all the safety features and advanced technologies available for the NX. That’s regardless of the trim level. NHTSA still hasn’t issued a safety rating for the NX. IIHS awarded the Lexus NX, NX 350h, and NX 450h PHEV the TPS+ rating. The 250 is the only NX with standard front-wheel drive (FWD). All-wheel drive is a $1,600 option. The rest have AWD standard. Among our sought-after safety features, the 250 provides auto on-off LED headlights, eight airbags, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is standard, as well.
Leading off the advanced safety technologies are ACC, BSM, RCTA, LDW with steering assist, TSR, and safe-exit assist. We’d pick up the surround-view camera ($1,070), digital rear camera mirror ($200), and rain-sensing wipers ($125) as standalone options. Note: The Lexus pricing practice is to include the $1,150 manufacturer-to-dealer delivery charge in the published suggested retail price. Therefore, on the Lexus consumer site, the starting price for the 2023 model is listed as $40,205.
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2023 Lexus RX350 F Sport
Lexus fully redesigned the RX for 2023, giving it a plug-in-hybrid powertrain option in the process. However, only the gas-fueled Lexus RX earned the TSP+ designation (That may change.) America’s most popular luxury model for the past 10 years, the RX is a blend of elegance, comfort, and safety. As with the Lexus UX, the prices we list here do not include the destination fee ($1,350). Providing many of our recommended safety features, the entry-level RX 350 is available with FWD or AWD. The standard features include auto on/off bi-LED headlights, high-beam assist, rain-sensing wipers, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. The driver-side outboard mirror is also auto-dimming.
Other standard features are safe-exit assist, ACC with curve speed management, and JTA. BSM, RCTA, LDW with steering assist, LKA, and TSR are also included. Stepping up a notch to the Premium gains you front/rear park assist. Our recommendation is to stick with the RX 350.
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2023 Lexus UX in white.
Serving as the brand’s entry-level vehicle, the 2023 UX is only available as a hybrid. Therefore, the names of the trim levels now contain an “h.” For example, the entry-level trim is the UX 250h. The Lexus UX provides an array of our highly sought safety features as standard. Among them are auto on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, heated outboard mirrors, and 10 airbags. The safety tech includes LTA, LDA with steering assist, and all-speed ACC. BSM, RCTA, and TSR are also standard.
Spending $37,800 for the Premium trim adds a windshield wiper de-icer, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and front/rear park assist (Intuitive Parking Assist). We’d stay with the base 250h. However, you can add AWD for $1,400. The listed base price does not include the factory delivery fee.
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2023 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum in tan near green hedge.
Once upon a time, the Nissan Pathfinder was a true rock crawler capable of taking on some of the gnarliest terrain. Today’s iteration is a family-friendly 3-row SUV with outstanding safety cred and plenty of current tech. Although today’s Pathfinder retains some of its grasp on better-than-average off-roading capability, its focus is on safety and a pleasant ride experience. And by the way, it provides some of the easiest third-row access among 3-row SUVs. Every Pathfinder comes with hill-start assist, auto on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, rear park assist, and 10 airbags. BSM, RCTA, and LDW are all standard.
Although the S base model is well-equipped, we recommend moving up to at least the SV trim ($38,140) to gain ACC, BSM with steering assist, LKA with steering assist, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. The ProPilot driver-assistance system that can accelerate, brake, and steer the Pathfinder under certain conditions is also included with the SV trim. Moving up to the SL grade ($41,740) adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, navigation-based ProPilot, and a surround-view camera. As much as we like a surround-view camera in a vehicle this size, we’d stick with the SV trim level.
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2023 Rivian R1S in yellow.
Fully electric, the Rivian R1S is a 3-row SUV. Rivian offers the R1S in basically a single Adventure trim level with an estimated range of 289 miles. There are two AWD powertrain upgrades delivering an estimated 303 miles of range or 321 miles of range, if you also opt for a motor at each wheel. What is currently available in terms of powertrains, options, and pricing is uncertain because Rivian has suspended online configuration. You can put down a deposit and hope for the best. You can also use the company’s online vehicle studio to see what options are available. NHTSA has yet to rate the R1S for safety. IIHS says vehicles built after Jan. 1, 2023, get the TSP+ rating.
Among our highly sought safety features are auto on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, and heated outboard mirrors. BSM, LKA, LDW, RCTA, a 360-degree parking system, and ACC. Rivian’s Highway Assist system can accelerate, brake, and steer the R1S under certain conditions.
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2023 Subaru Ascent in red.
There are a lot more good things about the AWD Subaru Ascent than just its safety resume, but we’ll stick to the safety theme. Typically, we advise leapfrogging the Base version of most Subaru models in favor of the Premium trim because there is so little difference in price. It’s still solid advice for the Ascent; however, it’s not as persuasive when the topic is safety. Although the Premium provides a lot of additional content, only a small portion of it has to do with safety. The Base trim comes with auto on-off adaptive LED headlights, high-beam assist, and seven airbags. Leading off the advanced safety technologies are LKA, and ACC with lane-centering assist.
Moving up a notch to Premium ($36,495) gains you heated outboard mirrors, BSM with steering assist, and RCTA. We are still going to give the nod to the Premium grade. There is just so much other value there (8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and so forth).
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Blue 2023 Subaru Outback Touring with green hills in the background.
Subaru gave the Outback’s face a makeover for 2023. Not to worry, though, it still looks like an Outback. There is little consensus on the debate whether the Outback is a wagon or an SUV. The confusion originated with Subaru itself when it switched from calling it a wagon to calling it a crossover. The debate rages within the walls of Kelley Blue Book, as well. The truth is, the Outback falls somewhere between the two. In any case, we like the Outback a lot. However, when given the opportunity, we recommend passing over the base model in favor of the Premium trim. It’s only a couple of grand more, but it’s a big leap in standard content. Every Outback has standard AWD. Among our recommended safety features, the Base provides auto on-off adaptive LED headlights, high-beam assist, and eight airbags.
Subaru updated its EyeSight safety tech for 2023, widening its field of view. Included in this bundle are ACC with lane centering and LDW. Stepping up to the Premium ($30,695) trim adds heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals and a wiper de-icer, along with several extra convenience features. To the Premium grade, you can add an Optional Package ($1,400) with BSM, RCTA, and automatic emergency steering. We recommend the Premium Trim with the Optional Package.
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2023 Subaru Solterra in blue.
The Solterra is Subaru’s first swing at an all-electric vehicle and the first of four SUV EVs forecasted by management by the close of 2026. It shares DNA with the Toyota bZ4X. It’s AWD with a government-estimated range of 228 miles. Another of our picks that has yet to be rated by NHTSA, the Solterra wowed the IIHS, earning it TSP+ status (for vehicles built after October 2022). It provides several of our suggested safety features as standard, beginning with hill-start assist. Others include auto on/off LED headlights, high-beam assist, heated outboard mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, and safe-exit assist.
On the list of safety technologies are JTA, LDA, LTA, ACC, TSR, BSM, and RCTA. Stepping up to the Limited trim will set you back $48,495, but it comes with a surround-view camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, and scads of extra non-safety features. It’s a lot of extras for $3,500. We recommend going for the Limited.
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2023 Tesla Model Y in white.
There’s more to the Tesla Model Y Long Range than vegan seats, a 330-mile range, and a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds. For one thing, it was the best-selling car in the world early in 2023. Furthermore, it provides many of our sought-after safety features like eight airbags, auto on-off LED headlights, high-beam assist, and fog lights. Also included are heated, auto-dimming outboard mirrors. Its advanced safety and driver-aid technologies are BSM with steering assist, LDW, LKW, and ACC.
Pop for another $15,000, and you can score what Tesla calls Full Self-Driving Capability. It can accelerate, brake, steer, and change lanes on its own under certain conditions. It also includes full self-parking and Autopilot navigation. Its Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control system automatically obeys stop signs and traffic lights. The Summon function allows you to call your vehicle to come to your location or some other location remotely. This all sounds like a lot of fun, but our advice is to skip it. We recommend the Long Range.
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2023 Toyota Highlander in grey.
We are happy the Toyota Highlander is on this list. It’s a standout in the midsize SUV arena and a top-tier family hauler. If you like it but want more, a longer Grand Highlander is coming for 2024. Among our recommended safety features, the 2023 Highlander provides eight airbags, hill-start assist, auto on-off LED headlights, and LED taillights in its L ($36,620) trim. Also included are heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, a windshield-wiper de-icer, high-beam assist, and fog lights. In addition, Toyota tosses in a rearview camera washer. The list of advanced safety and driver-aid technologies kicks off with JTA, ACC, TSR, LTA, LDW, and LKA.
Moving up to the LE will set you back another $2,400. It brings with it BSM, RCTA, and LED fog lights. You also gain some other goodies like a power rear liftgate and proximity keyless entry. It’s a tough call whether we would spend the extra to get BSM and RCTA. Factoring in the other upgrades would probably sway us to the LE.
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2023 Volkswagen ID.4 in blue.
Unlike many electric vehicles with exterior styling that screams “I’m electric!” the Volkswagen ID.4 looks very much like any other compact SUV. The entry-level Standard trim delivers an estimated range of 209 miles. We appreciate its high level of safety. Among our list of safety features, you will find LED exterior lights (auto on-off headlights, DRLs, and taillights). Also standard are heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and high-beam assist. The list of advanced safety and driver-aid tech includes front/rear park assist, LKA, BSM with steering assist, RCTA, and ACC.
All you gain by moving up to the Pro ($43,995) trim is another 65 or so miles of range. In terms of the safety features, we’d stay with the Standard.
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2023 Volvo XC90 in grey.
Volvo is rather confounding but formulaic in its approach to naming models and trims. The XC90 is a 3-row midsize SUV with a mild-hybrid powertrain. It provides a solid array of our safety features and safety tech. In fact, the entry-level core grade offers it all as standard or available in the Advanced Package. Among our standard preferred safety features are adaptive LED auto on-off headlights, LED taillights and fog lights, and high-beam assist. Other items are heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, auto-dimming mirrors (outboard and interior rearview), and rain-sensing wipers. The XC90 also provides seven airbags. Leading off the advanced safety features are BSM with steering assist and RCTA with automatic emergency braking. Joining them are LKA with steering, LDW, ACC, and DMS.
To round out the advanced safety and driver-aid technologies, pick up the Advanced Package with a surround-view camera, a head-up display, and Pilot Assist. Adding all those features for $1,850 makes sound sense.
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2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge in grey.
With the Volvo XC90 Recharge, you want to go with the midrange Plus trim level ($74,695). This grade will provide all the safety features and tech listed for our recommendation for the regular XC90, except for the head-up display. AWD is standard.
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2023 Honda Odyssey in silver.
To the Honda Odyssey’s accolades for its comfort, reliability, and resale values, you can add safety. The entry-level EX provides hill-start assist, eight airbags, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, auto on-off LED headlights, and high-beam assist. Its safety and driver-aid technologies are LKA, ACC, LDW with steering assist, BSM, RCTA, and TSR.  Because Honda doesn’t offer factory-installed options for the Odyssey, you must move up through the trim levels to gain more features.
You gain an auto-dimming rearview mirror with the $40,560 EX-L. We believe the Odyssey is a safe, reliable family hauler with everything you really need in the base EX.
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2023 Toyota Sienna in dark grey.
Toyota only offers the Sienna with a hybrid (HEV) powertrain. All-wheel drive is available. We like the Sienna so much, we named it our Minivan Best Buy for 2023. Among our recommended safety features on the base LE are auto on-off LED headlights and taillights. Also included are heated outboard mirrors, hill-start assist, 10 airbags, and high-beam assist. The advanced safety and driver-aid technologies consist of LDW with steering assist, LTA, ACC, BSM, RCTA, and TSR. The LE Plus Package ($2,300) adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a boatload of convenience goodies.
Stepping up to the $42,195 XLE grade gains LED fog lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and front/rear park assist. With the XLE being a $5,310 bump in price, our advice is to stay with the LE.
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2023 Subaru Forester in green with red hills in the background.
Every year, the IIHS gives out awards to the safest vehicles based on how they perform in the institute’s test. There are two tiers of awards: Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) and Top Safety Pick (TSP). Here is the list of the SUVs and minivans that earned TSP accolades and NHTSA 5-Star ratings so far. These accolades also apply to the hybrid versions. We will update this list as the IIHS continues to test vehicles throughout the year.
 
See how the latest models measure up based on expert ratings from our Kelley Blue Book editors.
See all Best Minivan Rankings.
2024 Toyota Sienna
2024 Toyota Sienna
When judging a vehicle’s safety, how it scored in crash tests is where you should start. The crash tests we rely on are those performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They developed their methods through years of testing. Consequently, their ratings are a solid comparative tool when considering the safety of one vehicle against another. Furthermore, the higher the score, the more likely you will survive a similar crash.
These are features the government believes are so important, there are federal regulations ensuring carmakers include them in every car, light truck, minivan, and SUV. For example, seat belts, airbags, rearview cameras, stability control, and traction control are government mandated.
Today’s passenger vehicles are safer than ever. Not only do they provide government-mandated safety equipment like airbags, stability control, and antilock brakes, they also contain loads of other safety features. For example, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors all contribute to a vehicle’s safety. Moreover, the technology race to engineer self-driving cars has created various advanced safety and driver-aid systems. For instance, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and so on not only help prevent crashes, they reduce driver stress. When hunting for the safest car, light truck, minivan or SUV, we advise you begin with those earning the highest scores in IIHS crash tests. In addition to that, identify those the IIHS has named a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+. From there, you want as many advanced safety and driver-aids technologies as you can afford.
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Here are our recommended cars, SUVs, and trucks that offer helpful features and good manners for shorter drivers.
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