Crossover Safety

US News

When shopping for a new crossover, safety beats fuel economy, performance and a low base price for some shoppers. After all, your crossover’s ability to prevent a crash and its performance in a crash may mean the difference between life and death. Fortunately, it’s easy to find a crossover that can keep you and your family safe.

Crossover Crash Protection

There are two resources you should use to check the kind of protection a crossover might give in the event of a crash: the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While IIHS and NHTSA have different scoring guidelines, both resources give a good perspective of how well a vehicle protects occupants in crashes.

IIHS grades vehicles by giving them a score of Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor in front, side and rear crash tests and roof strength tests. The crossovers that give the best crash protection receive a top score of Good in all four areas. These vehicles are named Top Safety Picks by the IIHS if they meet these criteria. A number of crossovers are IIHS Top Safety Picks, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a model that’s safe.

NHTSA grades vehicles on how they hold up during crash tests by using a five-star safety rating system. The crossovers that give the best crash protection receive five out of five stars in front, side and rollover risk tests. NHTSA also gives vehicles an overall score.

Even though both organizations have different scoring systems, it’s a good idea to look at scores from both. There are models that get high scores from NHTSA, but aren’t IIHS Top Safety Picks. Take the Acura ZDX, for example. It isn’t an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but the federal government gives it a five-star overall rating. The fact that it isn’t a Top Safety Pick doesn’t mean the ZDX is unsafe. It just means the ZDX hasn’t been tested for roof strength or side-impact protection yet.

The Nissan Murano, on the other hand, is a good example of a crossover that receives good scores, but not the best, from both the IIHS and NHTSA. From NHTSA, it gets four out of five stars in front and rollover tests, as well as four stars for its overall score. The Murano gets five stars in side crash tests. In IIHS tests, the Murano receives the top score of Good in front, side and rear tests, but a lower score of Marginal in roof strength tests.

Crossover Safety Features

After you check out crash test scores, learn about a crossover’s safety features, such as air bags and anti-lock brakes, as well as more high-tech features, like blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and rearview cameras. You don’t have to pay a lot to get a safe vehicle. The Kia Sportage, for example, starts at $19,000 and comes standard with traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, downhill brake control, hill assist control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes and brake assist, while a backup warning system and rearview camera are optional. The GMC Terrain starts at $26,235 and comes standard with a rearview backup camera.

Electronic stability control is required by the federal government on all 2012 model year and newer vehicles. It senses when the vehicle is starting to lose control and helps the driver recover from a skid if the vehicle starts to lose control. Although this will come standard on all new crossovers, those shopping for a used crossover should check to see if ESC is included.

Another good safety feature crossover shoppers should look for is a rearview camera. Crossovers have lots of blind spots, and if you’re trying to back out of your driveway or a parking spot, these cameras can be especially helpful. Front parking sensors are also good because they help you gauge the distance in front of your crossover so you don’t hit anything, which is useful when parking in tight spaces and parking garages.

Blind spot monitoring is a good safety features that crossover shoppers should consider adding. When you’re driving, sensors in the bumper will detect if a vehicle is in your blind spot. When you put your turn signal on and another vehicle is in your blind spot, the system will sound a warning letting you know not to change lanes. Crossovers can have many blind spots, so this is a helpful feature.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2013 Top Safety Picks - Crossovers

  • Ford Escape
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Jeep Patriot
  • Kia Sportage
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
  • Subaru Forester
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • GMC Terrain
  • Dodge Journey
  • Ford Edge
  • Ford Explorer
  • Ford Flex
  • Honda Crosstour
  • Honda Pilot
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Kia Sorento
  • Subaru Tribeca
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Toyota Venza
  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Audi Q5
  • BMW X3
  • Cadillac SRX
  • Infiniti EX
  • Lexus RX
  • Lincoln MKT
  • Lincoln MKX
  • Mercedes-Benz GLK
  • Mercedes-Benz M-Class
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC90

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Crossovers

Overall Rating

Front Crash

Side Crash

Rollover

Volvo XC60

5 Stars

5 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

Acura ZDX

5 Stars

4 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

Ford Explorer

5 Stars

5 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chevrolet Equinox

4 Stars

4 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

GMC Terrain

4 Stars

4 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

Dodge Journey

4 Stars

4 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

Kia Sorento

4 Stars

4 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

Lexus RX350 FWD

4 Stars

4 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

Toyota Venza

5 Stars

4 Stars

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

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