When it comes to the process of buying a new car, safety should always be number one priority. With SUVs dominating the North American market, there’s a lot of cars too choose from that not only look and feel safe, but also have good rigid construction, a host of active and passive safety systems and all-wheel-drive, which makes them truly safe vehicles. That’s why we’ve examined NTSA safety ratings, standard and optional safety equipment of all SUVs on the North American market to find 20 safest family SUVs in all market segments. Before we begin, you should know that all the entries have scored a 5-star NTSA overall crash test rating, and the list has no particular order, so it’s divided into market segments.
1. Honda CR-V
Honda’s new generation CR-V is an SUV with sporty character, great looks and a starting price of $24,045. It is FWD by default, although there’s an option of AWD, but then the price jumps $1,300 more. Apart from scoring five stars on NTSA crash tests thanks to its clever engineering, the CR-V has Honda Sensing™ which includes several intelligent suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies: Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System and Road Departure Mitigation System. Then, there’s also ABS, Vehicle Stability Assist, traction control, as well as front, front side and side curtain airbags.
2. Mazda CX-3
Mazda’s compact sedan offers much more than just beauty and sporty performance. Starting at $19,960, the CX-3 has front wheel drive, advanced front air bags, front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and side-impact air curtains as standard. Then, there’s the optional i-ACTIVESENSE system with high beam control, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning system, adaptive front lighting, blind spot monitoring, Smart City Brake Support, Smart Brake Support, and Distance Recognition Support System. All these amenities will make your everyday driving a lot safer and carefree.
3. Mitsubishi Outlander
The Outlander is another very safe Japanese crossover on the market, and apart from NTSA, it gained the highest grade from IIHS as well. At a starting price of $23,495, the Mitsubishi Outlander is a FWD car with optional AWD, and it has ABS, EBD and brake assist, as well as seven airbags as standard. However, systems like adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, blind spot and lane departure warning come as options on more upscale SEL and GT 3.0 trim packages.
4. Subaru Forester
As a manufacturer of cars renowned for their quality and famous for AWD prowess, Subaru is always expected to make a safe, solid car. Forester is no exception, as its symmetrical all-wheel-drive provides unmatched traction, handling and thus the ability to maneuver even in harshest road conditions. The Forester has been IIHS top safety pick for 11 years in a row, and in standard trim, it has four wheel ABS system, front airbags, driver’s knee airbags, Subaru advanced frontal airbag system, seat-mounted front side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags with rollover sensors. Higher trim levels also have EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, high beam assist and blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert. The Subaru Forester starts at $22,595.
5. Buick Encore
Buick’s crossover SUV shares a platform and most of its mechanical parts with Opel Mokka, and it has scored nothing but excellent marks in both European and North American crash tests. The Encore starts at $22,990 as a FWD SUV with available AWD, and when it comes to safety, it has ten airbags as standard, as well as optional lane departure warning, blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and OnStar® system with automatic crash response to keep you connected at all times.
6. Chevrolet Trax
As an alternative to the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax has a starting price of $21,000 and it also features ten standard airbags, and comes with FWD as standard with optional AWD. In higher trims, there’s optional lane departure warning, blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert as well as OnStar® system with automatic crash response. For a similar amount of money, you can get either the Trax or the Encore, and if you are choosing between the two of them, you’ll certainly get a very safe car.
7. Toyota RAV4
A bestseller in its class, Toyota RAV4 starts from $24,410 for FWD and $25,810 for AWD version, and is renowned for its build quality and safety. In standard LE trim, the RAV4 has Toyota Safety Sense™, a system that consists of lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and automatic high beams. Also, the RAV4 has Star Safety System™ that includes enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and Smart Stop Technology®. Blind Spot Monitor comes as an option in higher trim levels, and eight airbags come as standard.
8. Lexus NX
Toyota’s luxurious crossover comes in form of the Lexus NX, and it has a starting price of $35,285. It comes equipped with 8 airbags as standard, and has a host of standard safety equipment. Even the base NX Turbo comes with the most of safety features, including blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, dynamic cruise control, pre-collision system, lane departure alert, as well as Lexus Enform Safety Connect, a system that enables you to get assistance straight to your GPS location. Said system is complimentary for the first year of ownership.
9. BMW X3
BMW’s sporty SUV offers lively performance, loads of space and top levels of safety for its occupants. The X3 starts at a pretty hefty sum of $40,050, and it has front and front side-impact airbags. With Driver Assistance Plus Package, the X3 gets active blind spot detection, active driving assistant, lane departure warning and a few extras to ensure that the drive is as safe as possible. On paper, the X3 lacks many safety features compared to other cars on the list, but in reality, it’s a safe SUV with well proven German quality.
10. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento is another strong contender coming from the fast-growing Korean company, and it has a starting price of $25,600. When it comes to safety, the Sorento is equipped with dual front and dual front-side airbags, and side curtain airbags with rollover sensors for the first and the second row of seats. This SUV also has ABS with electronic brake distribution and brake assist system which detects and helps in emergency braking situations. Higher trim levels have an optional Advanced Technology Package which includes autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning system, lane departure warning system, advanced smart cruise control and electronic parking brake.
11. Acura RDX
Starting at $35,800, the Acura RDX is offered as a FWD crossover with optional AWD system that starts at $37,300. In its base trim, the RDX has dual-stage multiple-threshold front airbags, front side airbags with SmartVent technology and side curtain airbags with rollover sensor. Also, the base RDX has Vehicle Stability Assist™ with traction control and motion adaptive steering, ABS with EBD. In higher trim levels, the Acura RDX has blind spot information with rear cross traffic monitor, and advanced rear view camera with dynamic guidelines. The Acura RDX has been built by using Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ body structure ensuring the best outcome in case of frontal collisions.
12. Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport has a starting price of $25,350 for FWD and $27,100 for AWD drivetrain, and it comes with 4-wheel ABS with EBD and brake assist, two front airbags, driver’s knee airbags and side curtain airbags with rollover sensors as standard. Optional extras for the base trim include blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist and multi-camera system. These features are standard on higher trim levels, whereas the 2.0T Ultimate trim has optional smart cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
13. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep has always been famous for its ruggedness, and Grand Cherokee proved that with 5-star NTSA crash test rating. The Grand Cherokee start at $30,395 for a 4X2 version, and in standard trim, it has seven airbags: advanced multistage front airbags, front-side airbags, side curtain airbags and side curtain front and rear airbags. When it comes to driving aids, there are electronic stability control, ABS with EBD and Enhanced Accident Response System. Standard equipment also includes ParkSense® rear park assist with stop and ParkView™ rear back-up camera. Lanesense® lane departure warning with lane keep assist, forward collision warning with active braking and blind spot monitoring are optional.
14. Acura MDX
Another entry from Honda’s premium brand comes in form of the Acura MDX, a luxury SUV with three rows of seats and a starting price of $44,050. When it comes to safety, the MDX comes with AcuraWatch™ safety system as standard. The system includes collision mitigation braking system, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation. Like the RDX, the MDX was also constructed in Advanced Compatibility Engineering to ensure maximum collision safety. This SUV has advanced front airbags, front side airbags with SmartVent technology, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and driver’s knee airbag as standard. Technology package offers blind spot information with rear cross traffic monitor, while the Advance package also includes surround-view camera system.
15. Volvo XC60
Known as the innovators in safety, Volvo always took special care of their customers. The XC60 has a starting price of $40,950 and has been named a Top Safety Pick+ since 2013 by the IIHS. The XC60 offers so much safety features that it begs for a special list of its own, and apart from numerous airbags, ABS, EBD, blind spot monitoring and similar features, there are also systems for improving safety in city driving, for both the occupants and pedestrians or cyclists.
16. Mercedes-Benz GLE
One of many Mercedes-Benz SUVs on the market, the GLE starts at $52,000 and it is one of the safest cars in its class, with a Top Safety Pick+ rating by the IIHS. Safety features of the base GLE350 include PRE-SAFE® system that detects possible high risk situations and prepares the occupants for them, eleven airbags, ATTENTION ASSIST® which monitors the driver’s habits and detects fatigue, as well as Active Brake Assist. Optional safety features include DISTRONIC® dynamic cruise control with Steering Pilot system that keeps the driver in the lane. There’s also PRE-SAFE® Plus which helps with rear-end collisions, surround view system, active blind spot assist and more, making the GLE a true high-tech safety marvel.
17. Audi Q7
Audi’s premium Q7 SUV has a starting price of $49,000, comes with Quattro as standard and is packed with safety equipment and features. The Q7 has driver adaptive and front passenger dual-stage airbags, front thorax side airbags and Sideguard® head-curtain airbags as standard, as well as ABS with EBD, electronic stability control with Offroad mode, secondary collision brake assist and traction control (ASR). There are also Audi pre sense® Basic and City packages, which all makes the Q7 one of the safest premium SUVs on the market.
18. Lincoln Navigator
For 2017, the all-new Navigator starts at $76,600, and in all trims, it is packed with features that will provide the occupants with a safe and comfortable driving experience. The features include Safety Canopy® System with three-row side-curtain airbags and rollover sensor, AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™, perimeter alarm, as well as SOS Post-Crash Alert System™ that activates your horn and all emergency flashers in case of a crash to help first responders locate your vehicle.
19. Ford Expedition
Starting at $47,125, Ford Expedition includes ABS with EBD as standard, as well as Safety Canopy® System and SOS Post-Crash Alert System™. Standard equipment also includes perimeter alarm and rear view camera. Expedition also offers the available BLIS® blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert. When it comes to safety, the Expedition offers the same features as the more expensive Navigator, so it’s a wise choice for a budget oriented buyer who wants a safe American full-size SUV.
20. Volvo XC90
Much like the XC60, the XC90 is a benchmark SUV when it comes to safety, albeit in a larger package, and with a starting price of $45,750. The number of active and passive safety systems applied to the XC90 is immense, and this luxurious SUV is designed to protect both its occupants and other people around, whether it’s the drivers, cyclists or pedestrians.