Honda vs Nissan Midsize SUV Safety Rating Comparison: Who Comes Out On Top?

Honda midsize SUV safety ratings for the Pilot were slightly better than safety ratings for the Nissan Murano. Due to Honda midsize SUVs scoring higher than Nissan midsize SUVs they will generally have lower insurance rates. Honda midsize SUV safety ratings are based on crash and child safety tests.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Midsize SUVs from Honda and Nissan were all evaluated by the IIHS/HDLI for safety
  • All of these vehicles received fairly similar ratings in most areas except for the crash avoidance and mitigation category
  • Both vehicles had very similar ratings but Honda managed to surpass Nissan in one particular category


If you’re shopping around for a midsize SUV, safety should be one of your top priorities. Car companies can easily mislead consumers by convincing them that their vehicles are safe options.

Their main objective is to sell more vehicles, so you can’t really on the information that they provide. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) provides the public with safety ratings that you can trust.

These safety ratings play a huge role in how auto insurance companies determine their insurance rates. See what kind of a difference they make by using our free comparison tool to see car insurance quotes side-by-side. Enter your zip code to begin.

IIHS/HLDI

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The IIHS/HLDI tests each vehicle’s:

  • crash avoidance and mitigation
  • child seat anchors
  • crashworthiness

Each vehicle earns either good, acceptable, marginal, or poor safety ratings in each of these categories.

The only area that will receive basic, advanced or superior ratings is front crash prevention under the category of crash avoidance and mitigation.

These results will clearly express how safe each vehicle is for each category as well as which makes produce the safest models.

Midsize SUVs provided by Honda and Nissan will be compared based on their safety testing results. These vehicles include the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Nissan Murano.

Evaluating Crashworthiness

This category measures how well a vehicle can handle any impact and protect its passengers. The following parts of a vehicle will be rated on how they withstand a crash:

  • the sides
  • head restraints and seats
  • roof strength
  • front small overlap
  • front moderate overlap

The vehicle’s crashworthiness is determined by how well it can endure these tests and keep its passengers safe. The Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano, and Nissan Pathfinder managed to obtain “good” ratings for every single area in crashworthiness.

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Evaluating Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

The IIHS/HDLI determines a vehicle’s crash avoidance and mitigation ratings by evaluating its front crash prevention and headlights. These safety features play a huge role in helping the driver to avoid collisions.

The Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano, and Nissan Pathfinder all earned “superior” ratings with optional equipment for their front crash prevention. For their headlights, the Nissan Pathfinder and Murano both earned “marginal” ratings for only certain trims.

The Honda Pilot managed to obtain an “acceptable” rating for its headlights, also with only certain trims.

Evaluating Child Seat Anchors

If you’re a parent and intend to install car seats for your children, the IIHS/HDLI thoroughly examines each vehicle’s Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH, to see how easy they are to use.

LATCH is required for at least two seats in most vehicles by federal law. Once again, all three vehicles earned the exact same “acceptable” ratings in this category.

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Top Safety Pick Awards

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Top Safety Pick awards are only given to vehicles that have shown magnificent results from the safety testing. When the IIHS/HDLI gives a vehicle this award, it’s because they highly recommend it as a very safe vehicle.

The Nissan Pathfinder and Murano both earned 2017 Top Safety Pick awards. The Honda Pilot took it a step further and obtained a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award.

Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Nissan Murano all earned identical ratings except for one specific testing area. While the Honda model earned an “acceptable” rating for its headlights, while the two Nissan models both earned “marginal” ratings.

This was the only area that Nissan fell short in comparison to Honda. This is also the reason that The Nissan models couldn’t obtain the Top Safety Pick+ awards like the Honda model.

Overall, they’re all very safe vehicles, but the safety results prove that Honda produces safer midsize SUVs than Nissan.

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