The safest luxury midsize SUVs for rear-seat passengers - SUV VEHICLE

The safest luxury midsize SUVs for rear-seat passengers


If you’re buying an SUV as a family vehicle, you want the seats holding your precious cargo to be safe. However, as a new crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows, the rear seat is often not the safest seat in the vehicle. The IIHS is rolling out this new test in segments, and we now know what the safest luxury midsize SUVs are.

The winners – and losers – might not be what you’d expect.

The safest luxury midsize SUVs

Volvo has long had a history for safety, so it should come as no surprise that the Volvo XC60 earns good ratings for rear-seat passengers during the updated moderate overlap front crash test. The other two luxury SUVs snagging a good rating: the Lincoln Aviator and the Mercedes-Benz GLE.

The shocker to us is that the Acura MDX and Lexus RX aren’t on this list. But nope, MDX along with the BMW X3 get acceptable ratings. The RX is rated marginal along with the Audi Q5, and the Cadillac XT6 is the lone luxury midsize SUV that gets a poor rating.

To be clear, all eight of these SUVs provide excellent protection for the front seat – it’s the rear seat that’s lacking.

One of the biggest problems for the SUVs performing badly is “submarining” or sliding forward beneath the lap belt. The MDX, Q5, RX and XT6 all fell victim to this, which elevates head and neck injury risk for the rear seat passengers. The MDX and X3 also had the problem of the rear-seat passengers head coming close to the front seat, which increases the risk for head injuries.

iihs safest midsize luxury suvs screen shotiihs safest midsize luxury suvs screen shot

A screen shot of the results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety moderate front overlap crash test, which shows how rear-seat passengers fare in each SUV.

The updated IIHS moderate overlap front crash test

The updated moderate overlap front crash test has been causing problems for multiple vehicle segments, including minivans, small SUVs, midsize trucks and full-size trucks.

For the moderate overlap front crash test, the vehicles are moving at a speed of 40 MPH toward a static barrier to mimic two vehicles of the same weight hitting each other at just less than 40 MPH. Previously, the test was conducted only with an average-sized made dummy in the driver’s seat. With the update in 2022, a dummy the size of a small woman or 12-year-old child is placed in the second row behind the driver. In order to get a good rating, there can’t be excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest or thigh recorded by that dummy.

The bottom line

While the vehicles tested aren’t any less safe today than they were yesterday, this new crash test shines a light on some deficiencies in rear-seat safety. So, if you are in the market for a new vehicle and are in the habit of carrying back-seat passengers, be sure to check out the moderate overlap front crash test ratings – and the results for rear seat passengers – of the vehicle you’re thinking to buy.

The Safest Luxury Midsize SUVs Crash Test Photo Gallery:










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