A Complete Guide to Subaru Safety Ratings

Sturdy SUVs, rugged station wagons, and solid family sedans give Subaru some of the best safety ratings in the automotive industry.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Is love what makes a Subaru a Subaru—or is it safety? With near-perfect safety ratings for all eight current models, Subaru is one of the safest car manufacturers in the world
Subaru made its name manufacturing SUVs and station wagons built for outdoor adventures, but it’s also got a strong reputation as a maker of safe vehicles perfect for families. From the broad-shouldered Ascent and Forester SUVs to the Legacy sedan and its pint-size Impreza sister, Subarus are some of the safest cars on the market today. 
Want to learn more about Subaru safety ratings? You’ve come to the right place. The
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Are Subarus safe in accidents? 

Subaru is known for making sturdy, reliable all-wheel-drive vehicles with great resale value, great outdoorsy style, and great safety ratings. In fact, putting aside luxury manufacturers, Subaru is one of the safest car brands according to
U.S. News
, second only to

What makes a Subaru safe?

Why are Subarus safer than other cars? Ultimately, it’s a combination of solid engineering and cutting-edge safety technology, much of which is standard on Subaru’s most popular vehicles. 
Subaru’s claim to fame lies with its SUVs and station wagons, notoriously some of the sturdiest vehicles on the road. From the mid-size Ascent to the compact Crosstrek, Subaru’s SUVs are built on robust frames capable of withstanding crashes. Even the make’s handful of sedans, such as the ever-popular Legacy, fare well in most collisions. 
But vehicle safety isn’t just about the ability to survive a crash—prevention is also key, and Subaru seems to have cracked the code on that crucial element. The manufacturer’s EyeSight suite of driver assistance technologies is the crown jewel of Subaru safety, using dual cameras mounted by the rear-view mirror to: 
  • Monitor traffic patterns and detect objects and vehicles in front of the car
  • Operate adaptive cruise control to adjust the vehicle’s speed to road conditions
  • Control pre-collision braking and pre-collision throttle management
  • Generate lane departure alerts
EyeSight technology is available on every Subaru model, and it’s standard on the Ascent, Forester, Legacy, and Outback. 
Also available on the Forester, Legacy, and Outback is Subaru’s cutting-edge DriverFocus technology, which tracks driver drowsiness and distraction and can send you a visual or auditory alert if you’re nodding off or paying more attention to your breakfast sandwich than the road in front of you. 
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The two safety rating systems you need to know

The two most important ratings of any vehicle’s safety come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These two bodies, a federal agency and a non-profit organization respectively, conduct tests to evaluate the safety of motor vehicles in the U.S. 
NHTSA ratings
are based on a five-star system that’s been in place since 1993. Each vehicle gets an overall score, but NHTSA also breaks down individual ratings for the three major tests: 
  • Frontal crash
  • Side crash
  • Rollover
IIHS conducts a series of
six tests
, including front and side crash tests, to determine a car’s safety. They also evaluate the headlights and LATCH car seat attachments, and take both crashworthiness and collision mitigation into consideration.
 IIHS ratings run from Good—the highest rating possible—down through Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor (the worst possible score). 

Which Subaru has the highest safety ratings?

Which Subaru is safest in a crash? It’s a tie between the Ascent SUV and the Legacy sedan, both of which earned five-star overall ratings from the NHTSA and were named as Top Safety Pick+ choices by IIHS. 
NHTSA crash tests revealed one minor weakness for each vehicle: for the Ascent, it’s a 17% rollover risk that drops its rollover score to four stars, while the Legacy loses a single star for front passenger-side crash tests. But both cars got a perfect scorecard from IIHS, up to and including an ease-of-use rating for infant and child safety seats. 
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2022 Subaru Ascent safety ratings

Starting price: $33,470
IIHS safety rating: Good (Top Safety Pick+)
NHTSA safety rating: 5 stars overall, 4 stars for rollover
Standard all-wheel drive and generous interior space make the mid-size
a reliable pick for a three-row family SUV—and stellar safety ratings seal the deal. Road noise from the turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine puts a damper on the Ascent’s better features, but you won’t find a safer Subaru

2022 Subaru BRZ safety ratings

Starting price: $28,990
IIHS safety rating: Good overall, Acceptable for small overlap front: driver side
NHTSA safety rating: Not rated
A sports car may not be the first image that comes to mind when you think “Subaru,” but the
is determined to change that. A zippy flat-four “boxer” engine that makes 228 horsepower combines with modern, stylish comfort and an attractively low price point to earn this Subaru a spot on Car and Drivers’ 10 Best and Editor’s Choice lists for 2022. 
And although it’s not rated by NHTSA, the BRZ’s solid IIHS ratings prove that Subaru still puts safety first—even in sports car mode

2022 Subaru Crosstrek safety ratings

Starting price: $23,820
IIHS safety rating: Good overall, Poor for headlights (Top Safety Pick)
NHTSA safety rating: 5 stars overall, 4 stars for rollover and frontal crash
is everything you’d expect a Subaru to be: reliable, rugged, and ready to truck from home to trail to farmer’s market. All-wheel drive is standard, and the cargo space is capacious. 
And the safety ratings are good, too—with one major exception. IIHS, which named the Crosstrek a Top Safety Pick for 2022, found serious problems with the headlights on the Base, Premium, and Sport trims, giving those versions of the Crosstrek a dismal Poor headlight safety rating. If you’re looking at the Crosstrek, consider upgrading to the pricier Limited trim, whose LED headlights got a perfect score from IIHS. 

2022 Subaru Forester safety ratings

Starting price: $26,570
IIHS safety rating: Good overall, Acceptable for side crashes (updated test)
NHTSA safety rating: 5 stars overall, 4 stars for rollover
With its boxy styling, outsize cargo space, and rugged all-wheel drive capabilities, the
might be the ultimate outdoorsy Subaru. It’s also one of the brand’s safest models, thanks to standard EyeSight technology and the option to add the DriverFocus assistance suite
Overall, the Forester gets strong safety ratings from both IIHS and NHTSA—but an updated side crash test by IIHS revealed inadequate head protection for rear passengers, dropping the overall side crash rating to a second-place Acceptable. 
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2022 Subaru Impreza safety ratings

Starting price: $19,790
IIHS safety rating: Good overall, Marginal for headlights (Top Safety Pick+ for wagon)
NHTSA safety rating: 5 stars overall 
The smallest and most affordable Subaru is also one of the safest, with the adorable
wagon earning a spot on IIHS’s 2022 Top Safety Pick+ list. EyeSight technology is available (and a good option) on automatic models, but be aware that the Impreza’s halogen reflector headlights earned a worrisome Marginal rating from IIHS. 

2022 Subaru Legacy safety ratings

Starting price: $23,990
IIHS safety rating: Good (Top Safety Pick+)
NHTSA safety rating: 5 stars overall, 4 stars for front passenger side
Subaru’s classic family sedan, the
, may not measure up to its siblings in terms of hiker cred, but it’s strong on safety. A 2022 Top Safety Pick+ from IIHS plus a near-perfect set of NHTSA crash test ratings make the Legacy an ideal choice for a family car. Oh, and it’s one of just three Subarus eligible for add-on DriverFocus technology on top of the standard EyeSight driver assistance suite

2022 Subaru Outback safety ratings

Starting price: $28,320
IIHS safety rating: Good (Top Safety Pick+)
NHTSA safety rating: 5 stars overall, 4 stars for rollover and front passenger side
station wagon might just be the quintessential Subaru: it looks like an SUV, drives like a car, and feels as much at home in the daycare pickup line as it does at the trailhead. EyeSight driver assistance technology comes standard, earning the Outback a perfect scorecard from IIHS and near-perfect ratings from NHTSA

2022 Subaru WRX safety ratings

Starting price: $30,100
IIHS safety rating: Good overall, Acceptable to Poor for headlights
NHTSA safety rating: 5 stars overall, 4 for front driver side (2021 rating)
The BRZ isn’t Subaru’s only sports car. The
, its slightly pricier cousin, is a delightful sport compact with a refined ride and tons of fun features. It also gets good safety ratings from both NHTSA and IIHS (it was a 2021 Top Safety Pick). But keep in mind that you can only get Subaru’s driver assistance tech with the automatic transmission—so if you’ve got your heart set on a manual, you’ll need to get comfortable with a higher level of risk. 

How you can save money on Subaru insurance

Subaru’s high safety ratings don’t just mean peace of mind on the road—they could also help you keep your insurance premium low
How? Two ways: first, avoiding accidents means avoiding insurance claims, which can
raise your rates
by an average of 34%. On top of that, some insurance companies offer discounts for vehicles with upgraded safety technology. That means that if you opt for Subaru’s available EyeSight or DriverFocus driver assistance packages, you might see a lower rate on your insurance! 
There’s one more way to lower the cost of Subaru insurance: download the
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