Chevy and Ford Midsize SUV Safety Rating Comparison: Who Comes Out On Top?

Chevy and Ford Midsize SUV Safety Rating comparison aren't great — they both have poor safety ratings for their midsize SUVs. The low safety ratings for Chevrolet and Ford midsize SUVs will affect insurance rates. Upgrading safety features may lower your car insurance rates by up to 8%.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Neither Chevy nor Ford midsize SUVs scored well this year on the IIHS safety simulations
  • Consumer favorites are not necessarily safe vehicles
  • Both Japan and South Korea have safer midsize SUVs this year
  • A vehicle’s safety rating can affect the cost of car insurance

For as long as anyone can remember, there has been a heated rivalry between Ford and Chevrolet. In fact, it was the 1908 Model T Ford that inspired William Durant, founder of Chevrolet, to provide an affordable alternative for the average American.

Since the early days of the 20th Century, little has changed except technology. Now, a century later, that rivalry is still going strong.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate for the coverage you need regardless of which vehicle you decide to drive.

Trends vs. Safety

Unfortunately, sometimes the best selling car isn’t always the safest choice. Sometimes it’s a matter of classier designs or high-powered Madison Avenue advertising.

This year consumers and critics prefer the Ford Edge over any of Chevy’s midsize SUVs, but the Ford Edge may not be the safest choice. This year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found the Hyundai Santa Fe or the Toyota Highlander to be safer choices.

However, that still leaves us with the rivalry between the two American manufacturers, Ford and Chevy. Is Chevy’s safety rating for midsize SUVs better than Ford’s? Let’s look at what the IIHS has to say before making a judgment call on that one!

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What exactly is a safety rating from the IIHS?

The IIHS is a nonprofit group working independently of any government or corporate entity. Established in 1959, the original intent of the institute was to work in conjunction with the insurance industry in an advisory position.

Since that time, the IIHS has evolved into an organization with a dual purpose. Not only does the IIHS conduct highway safety research, but it also seeks to educate and inform professionals and consumers alike.

As part of the ongoing research conducted by highly educated and skilled scientists, the IIHS seeks to determine which vehicles meet or exceed minimum safety standards.

In turn, manufacturers are better able to make improvements to vehicles they are producing. Also, the insurance industry uses ratings from the IIHS to weigh the cost and insurability of a given vehicle and consumers can choose a vehicle they can feel safe driving.

How does the IIHS rank the safety of an SUV?

All vehicles tested by the IIHS undergo a series of simulated crashes at the Vehicle Research Center located in Ruckersville, VA. There are three main sections in IIHS safety ratings.


In short, this test seeks to determine how well a vehicle can withstand a direct impact as the result of an accident. Crashworthiness receives a grade of Good (G), Acceptable (A), Marginal (M), or Poor (P).

Sadly, neither Chevy nor Ford scored well enough on this segment of the testing to earn a place on the TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK + lists for 2017. However, Chevy did score a bit higher overall.

It is noteworthy that the Ford Edge was rated as the best midsize SUV, according to US News, even though it did not do well with the institute’s series of safety simulations.

The Chevy Equinox scored a G in the Front Small Overlap test while the Ford Flex and Edge only scored an A.

The Ford Explorer did even worse, scoring only an M on what is one of the most important aspects of safety testing to date.

Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

In this series of tests, the IIHS looks at a vehicle’s technology. They investigate such things as the vehicle’s auto-braking system (Front Crash Prevention) and the efficiency of headlights on both straight and curved roadways.

Front Crash Prevention receives a grade of Good (G), Acceptable (A), Marginal (M) or Poor (P), while Headlights receive a grade of Superior, Acceptable or Basic.

This year’s scores in Front Crash Prevention were:

  • Chevy Equinox – Basic
  • Ford Flex – Basic
  • Ford Edge – Basic
  • Ford Explorer – Basic

In the Headlight segment of the Crash Avoidance & Mitigation testing, the Chevy Equinox did not receive a grade. Both the Ford Edge and Explorer earned a P while the Flex did only marginally well. Again, not a very good recommendation for either manufacturer.


As an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, this is the newest of tests conducted by the IIHS. It is here that the institute scrutinizes hardware within a vehicle to see how easily a parent can install a safety seat.

They also look at how much force those anchors can withstand in a crash.

The LATCH test receives a grade of Good (G), Acceptable (A), Marginal (M), or Poor (P).

Scores on this part of the IIHS simulated crashes were about equal. All vehicles received an A in the LATCH test.

Are there safer alternatives than a Chevy or Ford midsize SUV?

Since neither manufacturer had a midsize SUV on the TOP SAFETY PICK lists, it is safe to say that there are at least 11 safer vehicles in this class on the market. As mentioned, there are other vehicles with higher rankings.

In first place for 2017 is the Hyundai Santa Fe followed immediately by the Toyota Highlander in second place.

If you have your heart set on an American made midsize SUV, perhaps you might want to consider the GMC Acadia that ranked 6th overall. Just remember, the availability and cost of car insurance are affected by a vehicle’s IIHS safety rating.

Are you looking to save money on auto insurance? Choose a midsize SUV with a good safety rating to help keep your insurance premiums down. See how much difference it can make for yourself by using our free comparison tool below.



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