While SUVs are commonly perceived to be among the safest vehicles on the road today, there are considerable differences between models. That’s why the New Car Assessment Program from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plays a vital role. The NHTSA actively crash tests new vehicles with criteria for Frontal Crash, Side Crash, and Rollover protection. While big SUVs may feel safe and secure, you should keep the laws of physics in mind when selecting a new vehicle. SUVs are notorious for their high center of gravity, and unfortunately, none score higher than four stars for rollover. That said, our list of SUVs with 5-star safety ratings only includes vehicles that score five stars overall in the Frontal and Side Crash tests.
10 SUVs with 5-Star Safety Ratings
Photo Credit: Ford
The 5-star safety rated Ford Escape sees significant revisions in the 2017 model year, with a range of engine choices and a reengineered body structure that improves safety. The Escape earns accolades for its solid yet smooth ride, tight handling, and quiet cabin. Three trim levels are offered: S ($23,750), SE ($25.250), and Titanium ($29,250). A reverse sensing system, blind spot mirrors, and rear cross traffic alert are standard in the Titanium. The 301A option group ($1,995) adds automatic high beams, enhanced active park assist, and a lane keep system. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 Escape has a rollover resistance of 19.10%. If you love an engine with plenty of oomph, you’ll want to opt for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost. The Ford Edge and Explorer also carry a 5-star NHTSA rating, along with the related Lincoln MKX.
Photo Credit: Jeep
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
The 5-star safety rated Jeep Grand Cherokee was the second most popular midsize SUV in 2016 and the most competent of the pack off-road. A full suite of safety technology is offered. The Jeep Active Safety Group includes blind spot mirrors, rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise with full stop, forward collision with crash mitigation, along with parallel and perpendicular park assist. The Jeep Active Safety Group is standard equipment on the Grand Cherokee Summit ($50,495) and SRT ($66,895), and optional on the Limited ($37,995), Trailhawk ($43,095), and Overland ($44,795). Hill descent control is available on all Grand Cherokees, with the exception of the SRT. The NHTSA states that the 4WD 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a rollover resistance of 16.90%.
Photo Credit: Honda
The 5-star safety rated Honda CR-V was the best-selling small crossover in America in 2016 and the fully revised 2017 model sets the bar even higher with a stunning cabin that provides oodles of space for passengers and cargo. Honda's safety technology is top-notch and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the CR-V Top Safety Pick+ when fully outfitted. The Honda Sensing technology package is standard on the CR-V EX, EX-L, and Touring models, with lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, collision mitigation braking, and road departure mitigation. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 CR-V has a rollover resistance of 16.20%.
Photo Credit: Mazda
The 5-star safety rated Mazda CX-3 is one of the most compelling subcompact crossovers on the market. The CX-3 earns raves for its crisp design lines, tight handling, and superior fuel economy. There are three trim levels: Sport ($19.960), Touring ($21,960), and Grand Touring ($24,990). To get the full suite of safety features, you’ll need to opt for the Grand Touring model and add the i-Activesense option package ($1,170). i-Activesense includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and Smart City Braking. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 CX-3 has a rollover resistance of 13.60%. In addition to the NHTSA 5-star rating, the 2017 Mazda CX-3 is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+ (when equipped with Smart City Brake Support).
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
The 5-star safety rated Chevrolet Trax and its cousin the Buick Encore were among the best-selling subcompact crossovers in America in 2016. Combine their sales figures and they lead the field. The 2017 Trax is offered in three levels of trim: LS ($21,895), LT ($23,795), and Premier ($26,995) with either front- or all-wheel drive. The Trax Premier includes rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, and blind spot mirrors as standard equipment. Selecting the Driver Confidence II option package adds forward collision alert and lane departure warning. A 5-year basic GM OnStar plan is included with all Trax. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 Trax has a rollover resistance of 17.90%. The Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia also carry a 5-star NHTSA safety rating.
Photo Credit: Volvo
The Volvo brand has placed safety and distinctive design at the forefront for decades. The stylish 5-star safety rated 2017 XC60 continues the tradition with three trim levels: Dynamic ($40,950), Inscription ($40,950), and R-Design ($51,000). Blind spot mirrors and rear park assist are standard features on all models. The R-Design adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, collision warning with full auto brake and pedestrian/cyclist detection, automatic high beams, and active bending lights. The 2017 Volvo XC60 is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 XC60 has a rollover resistance of 17.60%. Looking for more room? The larger Volvo XC90 also carries a 5-star NHTSA rating.
Photo Credit: BMW
The 5-star safety rated BMW X3 is well regarded for its responsive drivetrain, solid handling, and exceptionally well-trimmed cabin. The 2017 X3 is available in three levels of trim: X3 sDrive28i ($40,050), X3 xDrive28i ($42,050), and X3 xDrive35i ($48,950). The X3's Driver Assistance Plus option package ($1,700) includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go, blind spot mirrors, surround view, and Active Driving Assistant with lane departure warning. The Lighting option package ($1.900) adds adaptive LED headlamps with automatic high beams. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 X3 has a rollover resistance of 16.90%. The larger BMW X5 also carries a 5-star NHTSA rating.
Photo Credit: Hyundai
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
The 5-star safety rated Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers an extensive list of features at an attractive price point. Three trim levels are available: Base ($25,350), 2.0T ($31,700), and 2.0T Ultimate ($36,500). You’ll need to opt for the Ultimate and add the Tech Option package ($1,550) to gain adaptive cruise control with stop-start, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and auto-leveling headlamps with automatic high beams and dynamic bending light. The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ when fully optioned. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 Santa Fe Sport has a rollover resistance of 14.30%. The smaller Hyundai Tuscon carries a 5-star NHTSA rating, as well.
Photo Credit: Kia
The 5-star safety rated Kia Sorento is offered in seven trim levels. You’ll need to add a pair of option packages to the attractively priced Sorento LX to gain the high-tech safety features. The LX Convenience option package ($2,500) includes rear parking assist, blind spot mirrors, and rear cross traffic alert, and is prerequisite for the Advanced Technology option package ($1,000), which provides autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 Kia Sorento has a rollover resistance of 15.00%.
Photo Credit: Acura
The luxurious 5-star safety rated 2017 Acura MDX provides three rows of seating and is offered with conventional and hybrid drivetrains. The MDX earns high marks for its ride and handling and has been refreshed for 2017, with updated styling along with standard AcuraWatch safety technology suite on all models. The AcuraWatch suite includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, and road departure mitigation. You’ll need to add the Technology option package ($4,410) to gain blind spot mirrors and a rear cross traffic monitor, while front and rear parking sensors are bundled in the Advance option package ($6,040) The NHTSA states that the AWD 2017 Kia Sorento has a rollover resistance of 16.40%. The 2-row Acura RDX also carries a 5-star NHTSA rating.