1. Best
  2. Safest Compact SUVs


The automobile industry is finally recovering after seeing a 15% decrease in demand during the peak of the pandemic in 2020. And while demand for vehicles is increasing across the board, SUVs – along with crossovers and pickup trucks – are becoming particularly popular, accounting for around 75% of all new vehicle sales in the United States.

There are several reasons for the increased demand for SUVs, but one of the most obvious is their improved safety compared to traditional passenger cars. Their size allows manufacturers to provide a luxurious ride without sacrificing safety features. Here are some of the safest compact SUVs on the market.

2022 Toyota RAV4

One of the best-selling SUVs on the market, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is also one of the safest compact SUVs. Starting at $26,975, the base model is very affordable, making it a popular choice for families.

Safety features begin on the exterior, with multi-LED headlights and automatic high beams. The exterior mirrors are heated to prevent frosting and include a sensor-driven blind-spot indicator.

The RAV4 really kicks safety into high gear in the interior. Perhaps the most attractive feature is the standard Toyota Safety Sense package, which includes a pre-collision prevention system, a lane departure warning, steering assist, lane-tracing assist, road sign assist, and an industry-leading full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control.

Beyond these features, each RAV4 comes with enhanced vehicle stability control, smart stop technology, brake assist, free emergency roadside assistance via Toyota’s Safety Connect system, front and rear side impact beams, and eight airbags. Combined, these features make the 2022 RAV4 one of the safest vehicles on the market.

2023 Mazda CX-5

Starting at $26,700, the 2022 Mazda CX-5 is another top-selling compact SUV that provides excellent safety for drivers and passengers. However, in addition to safety, the CX-5 delivers a level of luxury that is unmatched in its price range.

The interior cabin comes with luxurious materials in an intelligently-designed layout that is more comparable to higher-priced compact SUVs like those made by Audi or Mercedes-Benz than those in the CX-5’s price range.

Beyond the superior level of luxury provided by the CX-5, it also offers excellent safety features. Receiving a five-star safety score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the CX-5’s safety features are headlined by a comprehensive selection of high-tech driver assistance features.

Called Mazda’s i-Activsense, the suite of driver assistance tech is led by advanced smart city brake control, day and night pedestrian detection systems, and traffic jam assist technology. For the price, the CX-5 combines luxury and safety into one of the most attractive overall packages on the market.

2022 Subaru Forester

The 2022 Subaru Forester received a mid-cycle update, meaning the 2023 model will likely be very similar. This is not a bad thing, particularly from a safety standpoint: the 2022 model Forester received a five-star overall safety rating and was named the winner of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ award.

The Forester received these honors primarily due to the newly-standard EyeSight® suite of driver assistance and active safety features. The suite includes automatic emergency braking, lane centering, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitoring features.

Starting at $25,895, the Forester’s price falls in the middle of the spectrum for compact SUVs, but the safety features are more comparable with those included in higher-priced models.

2023 Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V builds on the success of the 2022 model in the 2023 version, with many of the changes rooted in the two-motor hybrid system. Both the electric and gasoline motors are powerful and energy efficient, but beyond the motor, the vehicle really shines with its safety features.

Complete with a huge array of driver assistance features, including blind spot alerts, cross-traffic monitoring, parking sensors, and a multi-angle rearview camera, the CR-V simplifies driving and allows you to focus on safety.

Starting at $31,110, the ‘23 CR-V is an affordable and reliable option for drivers who prioritize safety above all else.

Honda CR-V

2023 BMW X3

The redesigned 2023 version of the iconic BMW X3, starting at $46,395, is another incredibly safe compact SUV option; the difference is that the X3, with its higher price point, provides extra luxury compared to other models.

Finding a compact SUV that provides luxury, fuel economy, and safety in a fun-to-drive package is rare, but that is exactly what the X3 offers. From a safety standpoint, the X3 has received Top Safety Pick honors and five-star safety ratings in consecutive model years.

The X3 offers a long list of safety features, such as pre-and-post-collision safety systems, blind spot and lane departure warnings, enhanced stability and traction control, emergency braking system assist, and brake drying technology. This makes the X3 an excellent choice for shoppers looking for a luxury compact SUV that doesn’t compromise when it comes to safety.

2022 Volvo XC60

Over time, Volvo has become synonymous with safety, and its 2022 XC60 adds to this reputation. And with a high-quality powertrain, a spacious second row, surplus cargo space, and a luxurious cabin, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort either.

The 2022 XC60 received five-star safety ratings from the NHTSA for its frontal crash, side barrier, and side crash tests and good ratings for the rollover test. Its main standard safety feature is Volvo’s Pilot Assist, a driver assistance system that interplays with the vehicle’s adaptive cruise control feature to make highway driving safer. It also boasts a range of other AI and tech-driven features, like blind spot awareness and lane keeping assist.

Starting at $43,450, the 2022 XC60 falls into a comparable price range with the BMW X3 and other luxury compact SUVs. Among the vehicles in this class, the Volvo XC60 is one of the safest and most luxurious rides available.

2022 Audi Q5

Audi is known for its luxurious vehicles, and the 2022 Audi Q5 is no exception. And though Audi is primarily considered a luxury vehicle brand, the Q5 is proof that they don’t cut corners on safety to deliver a comfortable ride.

Receiving a five-star crash safety rating for 2022, the Q5 boasts a large variety of attractive safety features, none more important than its newly-standard driver assistance technology suite. With standard assisted braking and forward collision warning on all trim levels, you won’t have to pay extra to keep yourself and your passengers safe.

The more expensive trim levels offer some extra perks (including additional safety features), but the safety features included in the standard version alone earn the Q5 a place on this list.

Starting at $43,500, the Q5’s price places it among the more expensive members of the compact SUV class, but it is comparable with the MSRP of other luxury compact and subcompact SUV models. If you prioritize safety in your vehicle but don’t want to miss out on the bells and whistles of a luxury ride, the Q5 may be the best compact SUV for you.

Best Compact SUV

SUViews Can Help You Find Your Perfect Ride

As you search for the perfect compact SUV, you’ll encounter plenty of appealing options. But with the help of SUViews’ insider reviews, you can learn the ins and outs of each vehicle you are considering before you even take a test drive.

Our articles and reviews can help you answer the difficult questions you’ll face as you shop, like what is the most reliable SUV, what SUV gets the best gas mileage, and what SUVs offer the best safety features? SUViews can help you find the answers to these questions, so check out our reviews before you shop.