Best mid-sized SUVs that keep drivers, passengers safe during crashes

New crash data show more than half of all mid-sized SUVs earned positive ratings for keeping drivers and passengers safe during side impact crashes. Researchers tested 18 mid-sized SUVs.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New crash data show more than half of all mid-sized SUVs earned positive ratings for keeping drivers and passengers safe during side-impact crashes.

Getting safely from Point A to Point B is everyone’s priority when it comes to being on the road and now, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is revealing which mid-SUVs are the safest to drive.

Researchers tested 18 mid-sized SUVs with 10 of those SUVs earning a good review, including the Ford Explorer. Researchers involved in the tests say drivers in SUVs with good ratings are 70% less likely to die in a left-side impact crash. They also used an improved, sturdier test.

The group that earned a “good” score includes the Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX60, Lincoln Aviator, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas.

The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse earned “acceptable” ratings.

“A vehicle’s rating is determined by how well the occupant compartment holds its shape, the injury risk measures from the driver and the rear seat passenger dummies and how well the airbags protect the head of the dummies,” said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

As part of their testing, their engineers also used a new heavier crash vehicle and tougher testing to simulate deadly high speed crashes where two crossing vehicles collide in an intersection.

“We needed a new, tougher test that represented the real-world crashes that are occurring today, that involve higher speeds and heavier vehicles,” Harkey said. “What we have done is develop a heavier barrier and are now running our tests at a higher speed. Those two factors combined, created 82 percent more energy in our tests today.”

Overall, researchers said the mid-sized SUV group tested much better than small SUVs. Last year, just one small SUV earned a good rating.

Those researchers say a big factor in this is mid-sized SUVs sit higher than small ones. The extra height adds another layer of protection.


About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.