Safest SUVs in America

Safest SUVsIIHS Top Safety Picks . . . PLUS
More than one-third of all new vehicles sold in America are SUVs or crossovers, and their popularity continues to rise. Although many SUV shoppers look for a vehicle with style, utility and capability, safety is often another important factor that consumers consider when making a purchase decision. Luckily every new vehicle sold in America must meet certain safety standards mandated by Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, for motor vehicle safety. While airbags, seat belts and crumple zones meet these requirements and will keep you and your loved ones safe in a crash, technologies available in many new vehicles work to avoid the crash altogether. Systems vary among car companies — some use radar, others use cameras — but the ultimate goal is lessening or avoiding impacts without the need for driver input. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates vehicles for crashworthiness, and those that earn top scores in all crash tests and offer some level of crash-avoidance technology gain distinction as IIHS Top Safety Pick+ vehicles. Here, in alphabetical order, are the 2016 (and some 2017) SUVs and crossovers that achieve this elite IIHS rank, shown with their front crash prevention rating and points earned out of six possible, as well as the cost of adding crash prevention technology.

© American Honda Motor Company2016 Acura MDX
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Acura updated the MDX luxury crossover for 2016, including a number of new advancements in safety technology. The MDX is available with the latest version of Acura Watch, which adds Road Departure Mitigation that uses the windshield-mounted camera to identify lane markers. The system then uses steering and braking to keep the vehicle in the lane. With the optional Collision Mitigation Braking System – also part of Acura Watch – the MDX automatically avoided a collision at 25 mph in the IIHS High-Speed Autobrake test.
Additional Costs: Acura Watch adds $1,500 to the base MDX price.

© American Honda Motor Company2016 Acura RDX
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
It may be the entry-level SUV in the Acura lineup, but the RDX is still available with the impressive Acura Watch suite of safety features. This includes the Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist System. In addition to avoiding forward collisions, the RDX can be equipped with a Rear Cross Traffic Monitor that alerts the driver when backing out if a vehicle is coming from either direction.
Additional Costs: Acura Watch adds $1,300 to the base RDX price.

© Audi AG2016 Audi Q5
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (3 points)
Audi’s midsize SUV is one of three Audis available with the brand’s pre sense front collision prevention. Equipped with adaptive cruise control, the Q5 can follow the car in front at a set distance and matched speed, down to 19 mph. At this point the driver is alerted and must manually engage the brakes to slow further. According to the IIHS, the Q5 was able to reduce speed by 11 mph in the 12-mph low-speed autobrake test — practically avoiding the collision altogether. Aside from the adaptive cruise control operating differently than on the A6 and A3, the Q5’s automatic crash avoidance functions in the same way as the other two models.
Additional Costs: NA

© Audi of America2017 Audi Q7
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Q7 is all new for the 2017 model year, and in addition to updated styling and new features, this luxury SUV gets new safety technology. Pre Sense City — standard on all 2017 Audi Q7s — can detect moving and stationary vehicles, as well as pedestrians, while the Q7 travels at city speeds up to 52 mph and automatically applies braking when a potential collision is detected. “This year’s Top Safety Pick+ award for the 2017 Q7 represents our brand’s longstanding commitment to bringing innovative technologies to the market,” said Scott Keogh, President Audi of America. “The Q7 demonstrates our leadership in many of the advanced driver assistance systems today that will form the future of piloted driving tomorrow.”
Additional Costs: None

© BMW of North America2016 BMW X1
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (4 points)
A recent addition to the IIHS Top Safety Pick + ranks, the X1 is the smallest SUV in the BMW lineup. Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the X1 continues to earn “good” ratings in all crash tests performed by the IIHS, but this year BMW offers a newly-available crash-prevention system. The camera-based system helps prevent or reduce the severity of a collision by employing driver alerts as well as automatic braking. In the IIHS tests at 12 mph, impact speed was reduced by an average of 10 mph. In the 25 mph test, impact speed was reduced by 7 mph.
Additional Costs: Crash avoidance is part of BMW’s Driver’s Assistance Plus package, priced at $700. However, purchase of this package requires the navigation system for an additional $1,200.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2016 Fiat 500X
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (4 points)
Fiat’s newest model and first crossover in America is available with FCA’s Forward Collision Warning-Plus system. Available on the 500X Easy and higher trim levels, the system uses radar and camera tech to determine if a crash is imminent. Audible and visual warnings alert the driver, and if no action is taken the brakes get applied automatically to avoid or lessen the impact, depending on the vehicle’s speed. The 500X can also be equipped with Lane Sense Departure Warning-Plus, which uses the electronic power steering to alert the driver with steering-wheel inputs that also provide course correction.
Additional Costs: NA

© American Honda Motor Company2016 Honda CR-V
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
Honda introduced its all-new Honda Sensing suite of safety features on the all-new 2015 Honda CR-V. Available exclusively on the top-level Touring trim, Honda Sensing includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System and adaptive cruise control. In the IIHS test, the CR-V was able to detect an imminent crash and was able to slow the vehicle by 21 mph in the 25 mph test — meaning there was slight damage, but the severity was considerably reduced.
Additional Costs: Honda Sensing is standard on and exclusive to the top-line CRV-Touring trim.

© American Honda Motor Company2016 Honda Pilot
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
The Pilot is all-new for 2016 and can be equipped with the latest advanced safety technology from Honda. Pilot’s integrated camera and radar systems warn the driver if it appears the SUV is likely to crash into another car or an object, and then applies the brakes if the driver takes no action. “The 2016 Pilot is not only the most technologically advanced Honda vehicle on the road today, but the top choice for family SUV buyers interested in safety performance,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Automobile Division of American Honda.
Additional Costs: Honda Sensing is available on the Pilot EX and higher trims for an additional $1,000.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Hyundai engineers made a number of improvements to the Santa Fe Sport for the 2017 model year. The stylish crossover receives an updated exterior, fresh interior and — more importantly — the latest in high-tech safety features. Standard equipment includes stability control, traction control, multiple airbags and electronic brake distribution, but it is the optional Automatic Emergency Braking that earns the Santa Fe Sport the Superior rating in front crash prevention. Hyundai’s AEB uses both the forward-facing radar and cameras to detect a vehicle or pedestrian, and then warns the driver of a potential collision. If the driver does not react to avoid the impact, the system will apply emergency braking.
Additional Costs: Automatic Emergency Braking is part of the Tech Package, which runs $1,550 but is only available on the top-level Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate.

© Hyundai Motor America2016 Hyundai Tucson
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Every carmaker has the goal of achieving the highest safety ratings when introducing a completely redesigned model, and Hyundai successfully met that goal with the new Tucson. Available with a suite of the latest advanced safety features, the Tucson is the first Hyundai to offer Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. This system will detect an object or person in the Tucson’s path and — if the driver takes no action — will automatically apply brakes to stop prior to the collision.
Additional Costs: Automatic Emergency Braking is part of the $2,750 Ultimate Package on the Tucson Limited.

© Infiniti North America, Inc.2016 Infiniti QX60
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The QX60 came to market just a few years ago, but for 2016 Infiniti adds a number of safety upgrades to the premium SUV. Most significant is Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection. This system calculates the distance between QX60 and the vehicle in front, as well as the speed of both vehicles, and determines the possibility of a collision. The system can then apply brakes automatically to help mitigate or prevent the impact. The FEB system can also help avoid or mitigate collisions with pedestrians. Infiniti also offers Backup Collision Intervention on the QX60, which can detect large objects or crossing traffic when reversing, warning the driver and ultimately applying the brakes as necessary.
Additional Cost: Forward Emergency Braking is part of the Deluxe Technology Package priced at $6,900. This package requires purchase of the Premium and Premium Plus packages that add another $4,700 to the total price.

© Kia Motors America2017 Kia Sorento
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Kia completely redesigned this midsize SUV for the 2016 model year with all-new styling as well as a number of new high-tech features. But for 2017 the Korean brand ups its safety game with a number of advanced safety features, including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. In both low- and high-speed Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the new Sorento was able to completely avoid the collisions, earning it a top rating from the IIHS.
Additional Cost: The AEB system is part of an Advanced Technology Package that runs $1,500 on the LX but requires additional packages costing around $3,000. Additional costs are similar on the EX and SX trims.

© Kia Motors America2017 Kia Sportage
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The fourth generation of the Sportage arrives for the 2017 model year. The compact crossover receives updated styling, a stiffer structure, new suspension, premium materials and a suite of advanced driver-assistance systems. Earning the Sportage a place on this list of safest SUVs is the Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, which can detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and automatically apply the brakes to lessen or avoid the impact.
Additional Cost: Autonomous Emergency Braking is part of the EX Technology Package, which runs $2,800 and requires upgrading to the Sportage EX.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2016 Lexus NX
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (4 points)
This small crossover from Toyota’s luxury marque was introduced last year and touts plenty of tech. A windshield-mounted camera tracks lane markers and alerts the driver if the vehicle is veering out of lane. The NX also features an Intelligent High Beam system uses the same camera to automatically switch to low-beam lights if an oncoming car is detected, returning to high beams after the vehicle has passed. Also available is the Pre Collision System, which utilizes the all-speed Adaptive Cruise Control’s millimeter-wavelength radar sensor to detect vehicles and other obstacles. A buzzer and a light warn the driver of an impending collision. The system can increase the driver’s braking effort if needed, and if the driver does not apply the brake the system can bring the NX to a full stop. Pre-Collision Brake deceleration works from a maximum speed of 37 mph; however, in the IIHS test the NX was only able to reduce speed by 9 mph in the 25 mph test.
Additional Costs: The Pre-Collision system with Dynamic Cruise Control adds $900 to the base price.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2016 Lexus RX
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The best-selling model in the Lexus lineup, the RX has been completely redesigned for the 2016 model year. Thanks to advanced safety features introduced with the updated model, this is the first year that the RX has earned the ultimate IIHS rating of Top Safety Pick +. The optional Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection is designed to detect vehicles ahead and determine if a frontal collision is imminent. PCS will automatically prepare Brake Assist for increased brake force and will begin braking before impact, even bringing the vehicle to a complete stop as necessary.
Additional Cost: The Lexus Pre-Collision System is part of the Lexus Safety System+ package priced at $2,250, but also requires the Luxury Package and Power Moonroof for an additional $5,710.

© Ford Motor Company2016 Lincoln MKX
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
This luxury SUV has been completely refreshed for the 2016 model year with updated styling as well as an upgraded interior more becoming of the Lincoln brand. The MKX also receives a number of new high-tech features and becomes the first Lincoln to be equipped with a crash-avoidance system. The first Lincoln to earn the IIHS Top Safety + rating, the MKX is available with Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. This system will detect objects or pedestrians in the vehicle’s path and apply brakes automatically if it determines a collision is imminent and the driver takes no action. We expect to see this system on future Lincolns as the brand rolls out new versions of the MKZ, Continental and Navigator.
Additiona,l Cost: Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection requires the Reserve 102A package, adding $9,300 to the base cost of the vehicle.

© Mike Meredith Automotive Content Experience2016 Mazda CX-3
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
An all-new model from Mazda for the 2016 model year, the CX-3 competes in the compact crossover market by offering bold styling and performance that fit perfectly within the rest of the Mazda lineup. The CX-3 has a number of available advanced safety technologies as part of Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE system, including automatic high-beam control, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warning, adaptive front lighting, blind-spot monitoring and smart brake support that automatically applies the brakes if an object is detected in the vehicle’s path.
Additional Cost: The i-ACTIVSENSE package is only available on the top-level Grand Touring trim and costs $1,170.

© Mazda North American Operations2016 Mazda CX-5
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Mazda builds its vehicles based on a philosophy of proactive safety to “minimize the risks that can lead to an accident and maximize the range of conditions in which the driver can safely operate the vehicle.” With this in mind, the CX-5 is available with advanced features such as Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart Brake Support, which warns the driver and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or minimize the damage from a frontal collision.
Additional Costs: Smart Brake Support is part of the i-ACTIVSENSE Package that adds $1,500 to the CX-5 Grand Touring. The i-ACTIVSENSE package requires the additional purchase of the Grand Touring Tech package for an additional $1,505.

© Mercedes-Benz USA2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Mercedes-Benz instituted a completely new naming system for its vehicles, so the model that was formerly known as the M-Class is now called the GLE-Class. In addition to the new name, the GLE has been completely updated for the 2016 model year. (Note that the M-Class has been an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winner since 2012.) The GLE comes standard with Collision Prevention Assist, which uses radar to monitor the distance to a vehicle in front and will alert the drive while priming the brake if a crash seems imminent. Also available is Collision Prevention Assist Plus with Active Brake Assist, which will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
Additional Costs: The collision prevention systems — as well as other advanced safety features — are included in the Premium 3 package that costs $9,080.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (3 points)
Mitsubishi refreshed its midsize crossover last year and added number of new safety features. These high-tech options include Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning, as well as Forward Collision Mitigation. When equipped with the radar-based FCM system, the Outlander warns the driver of an imminent frontal collision while automatically applying the brakes to eliminate or reduce the impact. In the IIHS Low-speed autobrake test, the Outlander was able to avoid a collision at 12 mph.
Additional Costs: FCM is part of an Advanced Safety Package available on the SEL for $1,550, or on the GT as part of the touring package which costs $3,350.

© Nissan North America2016 Nissan Murano
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
The Murano was all-new for the 2015 model year, and to its new looks and upgraded interior Nissan added an impressive array of high-tech safety features. Murano incorporates up to four cameras (front, rear, two side) and three radar sensors (one front, two side) to provide input into features including Blind Spot Warning, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking and Intelligent Cruise Control. The PFCW can warn the driver if the car in front stops suddenly, or even if the vehicle in front of that one stops. FEB takes that information and provided audible and visual warnings — applying the brake if the driver doesn’t intervene.
Additional Costs: Automatic braking is available on the SL and Platinum as part of a technology package that runs $2,260.

© Subaru of America2016 Subaru Forester
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Completely redesigned for the 2014 model year, the Forester is Subaru’s best-selling model. While the excellent traction provided by Subaru’s full-time all-wheel drive system helps drivers stay in control in a variety of weather conditions, the Forester is equipped with a high-tech driver assist system called Eyesight. Eyesight uses a stereo camera system installed in the windshield to track lane markers as well as vehicles ahead for a variety of safety features. The system will also alert the driver if it senses a collision and will ultimately apply brakes to avoid the impact.
Additional Costs: Eyesight is only available when packaged with other features, so price ranges from $1,800 to $2,600.

© Subaru of America2016 Subaru Outback
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
There aren’t many wagons available in America, but the Subaru Outback with its perfect score from the IIHS is arguably the safest wagon on the market. Like other Subarus on this list, the Outback can be equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure & Sway Warning, Pre-Collision Braking and Pre-Collision Throttle Management — all part of the innovative Eyesight system. These systems can make driving less stressful as well as much safer.
Additional Costs: Eyesight is only available when packaged with a number of other features, priced at $1,695 on Outback Premium and $2,990 on Outback Limited.

© Subaru of America2016 Subaru XV Crosstrek
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Subaru continues to spread its high-tech Eyesight system throughout its model lineup, adding it to the options list for the XV Crosstrek last year. Eyesight is available on the Premium and Limited trims, as is Electronic Brake Distribution, Vehicle Dynamics Control and Brake Assist. Like the other Subarus on this list, the XV Crosstrek was awarded the highest possible score by the IIHS in crash tests as well as in crash avoidance.
Additional Costs: Eyesight is packaged with other features, starting at $1,295.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA2016 Toyota Highlander
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (3 points)
Toyota’s midsize crossover has earned the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick + rating for the last three years, and with an all-new 2017 model coming soon we expect the Highlander to stay on this list for the foreseeable future. Highlander is equipped with Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. In addition, Highlander can be equipped with Toyota’s Pre-Collision System. Working with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the PCS can anticipate an imminent forward collision, warn the driver and ultimately apply the brakes. In the 25 mph IIHS test, the Highlander was able to slow by 6 mph, lessening but not eliminating the impact.
Additional Cost: The Pre-Collision System is part of the Driver Technology Package priced at $1,400. This package is only available on Highlander Limited.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2016 Toyota RAV4
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Toyota RAV4 is one of the best-selling SUVS in America. While it performed well in the IIHS crash tests last year, the RAV4 has been redesigned and now includes the all-important crash-avoidance technology. Toyota Safety Sense is an advanced safety package featuring automated pre-collision braking as well as a Pre-Collision System (with Forward Collision Warning and automatic emergency brake), Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre-Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. This package is standard on 2016 RAV4 Limited (gas and Hybrid) and optional on XLE and SE trims.
Additional Costs: NA

© Volvo Cars North America2016 Volvo XC60
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
As with other Volvos on this list, the XC60 is available with a variety of active and passive safety features. Utilizing camera and radar inputs, the XC60 has an excellent sense for its surroundings. The Lane Keeping Aid alerts the driver with warning vibrations and ultimately steering correction if the driver inadvertently drifts out of the lane; Blind Spot keeps the driver aware of vehicles behind and out of sight; bicyclists or pedestrians in the car’s path are identified and if necessary, the vehicle will apply brakes automatically to avoid them. And with the optional Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, the XC60 scores among the highest in the IIHS crash prevention tests.
Additional Costs: The auto braking system is part of the Technology Package, available for $1,500. City Safety is standard and still provides a level of auto braking, achieving an IIHS score of Advanced (2 points) in the crash prevention test.

© Volvo Cars North America2016 Volvo XC90
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
All new for the 2016 model year, the XC90 can be equipped with an impressive array of high-tech safety features. With the City Safety system, the XC90 can detect a potential collision with a car in front and can avoid the impact from speeds up to 31 mph — at higher speeds the XC90 is slowed to reduce the impact. The XC90 is the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. The potential crash is detected and XC90 brakes automatically in order to avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences of a crash. City Safety can also detect pedestrians or bicyclists day or night, applying the brakes to completely avoid a collision at speeds up 28 mph.
Additional Costs: None

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