Safest SUVs for 2024

Vehicle safety should be a primary consideration for every SUV buyer, but what defines a safe SUV?

iSeeCars identified the safest SUVs using the rating systems from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as the basis for deriving its safety score for each SUV. These rating systems include NHTSA’s 5-star rating that tests a vehicle’s crashworthiness in a frontal crash, side impact crash, and rollover crash, plus the rollover risk for a given vehicle. IIHS’ rating system uses Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ to define safety, and is based on three crash tests that include frontal crash tests, side crash tests, and a roof strength test. IIHS also rates safety features like head restraints, front crash prevention technology, and headlight performance.

The safest SUVs will earn a five-star rating from NHTSA and an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, but iSeeCars doesn’t base its safety score on good ratings from a single model year. Instead we average an SUV’s safety ratings over five model years to come up with a 5-year average to determine a given model’s safety score. We also include a list of standard and optional safety features for each SUV, including forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high beams. 


How to Practice Vehicle Safety

New vehicles are safer than ever, but even today’s advanced safety systems can’t overcome unsafe driving habits. With modern SUVs offering car-like ride and handling, drivers can be lulled into thinking they are as light and nimble as a traditional new car. But SUVs remain taller and heavier than a sedan or wagon, giving them increased cargo space and, in models with a third-row seat like the Kia Telluride and Mazda CX-9, increased passenger capacity. But their elevated weight and center of gravity puts SUVs at a greater risk of rollover.

SUV drivers must take these factors into consideration, allowing for more stopping distance and careful maneuvering when parking. And because SUVs can travel off-road, drivers should understand how all-wheel drive and other off-road technologies work before leaving the pavement. An SUV’s advanced powertrain and aggressive styling can’t make up for a lack of knowledge and bad decisions during off-road excursions.

The same is true when using a SUV for towing, which can be dangerous if a driver doesn’t understand how to safely attach a trailer and drive it in a prudent manner. Technologies like trailer sway control and a trailer brake controller can reduce towing risks, but drivers should have a full understanding of proper towing protocol before their first trailering experience. Also keep in mind that fuel economy can be drastically impacted when towing, with an SUV’s mpg dropping as the trailer’s weight increases.

As an SUV driver you’re the most important safety feature in your vehicle. You can use the lists below to identify which SUVs offer the highest safety scores and what safety technologies are standard or optional on higher trim levels. But you must always supplement those systems with safe and prudent driving practices, such as wearing your seat belt, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, and remaining focused on the task of driving your SUV responsibly.

Safest Small SUVs:

  1. Honda CR-V: 10/10

  2. Toyota RAV4: 10/10

  3. Subaru Forester: 10/10

  4. Subaru Outback: 10/10

  5. Ford Escape: 10/10

Safest Midsize SUVs:

  1. Honda Pilot: 10/10

  2. Toyota Highlander: 10/10

  3. Mazda CX-9: 10/10

  4. Hyundai SANTA FE: 10/10

Safest Large SUVs:

  1. Ford Expedition: 10/10

  2. Ford Expedition MAX: 10/10

  3. Chevrolet Tahoe: 8.0/10

  4. GMC Yukon: 8.0/10

  5. Chevrolet Suburban: 8.0/10

Visit for the complete list of safe vehicles across all categories.

More from iSeeCars:

About iSeeCars: is a data-driven car search and research company that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, including the iSeeCars VIN Check report and Best Cars Rankings. iSeeCars has saved users over $412 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.

This article, Safest SUVs, originally appeared on