The Safest Cars: Which Are Cheapest to Insure?

By Lesley Green
A vehicle driving towards you in the winter with its headlights on because it's also foggy.

There’s a lot to consider when buying a new vehicle: reliability, fuel efficiency, your budget, and auto insurance rates to name a few. For many drivers, however, safety ratings are paramount in the car-buying decision, and every year, the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recognizes the vehicles that perform best in a bad situation.

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Top Safety Pick+ 2020 Winners

IIHS evaluates and tests two facets of safety: crashworthiness as well as crash avoidance and mitigation. When testing crashworthiness, IIHS examines how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash. When testing avoidance and mitigation, they look at vehicles that are (or can be) equipped with technology that prevents a collision or lessens the severity of one.

Following the tests, the best of the best are awarded IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ rating. These vehicles earned good scores in a variety of crashworthiness tests, received an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention, and a good headlight rating.

The following 2020 model year cars have all been recognized, so far, with a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS. This list is likely to grow as more vehicles are tested by the IIHS.

Small Car Midsize Car Midsize Luxury Large Luxury
Honda Insight Mazda 6 Lexus ES 350 Audi A6
Mazda3 hatchback Nissan Maxima Mercedes-Benz C-Class Genesis G70
Mazda3 sedan Subaru Legacy Tesla Model 3 Genesis G80
Subaru Crosstrek Subaru Outback Genesis G90
Toyota Camry


If it’s a SUV you’re looking for, then you may want to consider these IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winners:

Small SUVs Midsize SUVs Midsize Luxury
Mazda CX-3 Mazda CX-9 Acura RDX
Mazda CX-5 Cadillac XT6
Subaru Forester Lexus NX
Mercedes-Benz GLE

A Case Study: One Driver, 13 Ontario Cities, and the Safest Vehicles

How do the safest vehicles rank when it comes to auto insurance? We set out to see what a typical person might find when comparing auto insurance quotes for the vehicles designated a Top Safety Pick+.

10 Safe Cars That Protect Your Wallet with the Cheapest Car Insurance

When it comes to auto insurance, the following Top Safety Pick+ award winners topped our list too as the cheapest to insure:

  1. Subaru Forester
  2. Subaru Crosstrek
  3. Subaru Outback
  4. Tesla Model 3
  5. Mazda CX-3
  6. Mazda CX-5
  7. Subaru Legacy
  8. Honda Insight
  9. Acrua RDX
  10. Mazda CX-9

What Goes into Determining an Auto Insurance Rate?

There’s more to your auto insurance rate than the car you drive. Where you live, your driving and insurance history, and driving record all factor significantly into your auto insurance premium. Every person’s premium is different, and the vehicle that costs you the least to insure may not be the car that’s the most cost-effective option for your neighbour. If you’re in the market to buy a new vehicle, compare the car insurance market as well to see which vehicle will save you the most. It takes only a few minutes and could save you hundreds of dollars.

Case Study Methodology

We compared quotes for a fictional 35-year-old driver with a clean driving record living in 13 Ontario cities. The cities include Ajax, Aurora, Kingston, Kitchener, Lindsay, London, Mississauga, Ottawa, Peterborough, Scarborough, Sudbury, Toronto and Windsor. An average of the cheapest auto insurance quote in each city for each vehicle was taken to produce the ranking. Only quotes for Ontario car insurance were reviewed as coverage can vary between provinces. Results may vary based on your own personal circumstances.