GMC vs Chevy Midsize SUV Safety Rating Comparison: Who Comes Out On Top?

GMC safety ratings for the Acadia midsize SUV are higher than the ratings for the Chevy Equinox. Due to GMC midsize SUVs scoring higher than Chevy midsize SUVs they will generally have lower insurance rates. GMC safety ratings are based on crashworthiness, crash prevention, and child safety tests.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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...

  • The IIHS ran safety tests on two GMC models and one Chevy model in the midsize SUV class
  • The large size of and the exceptional features in these vehicles may make drivers feel safe on the road, but only one of these three vehicles had higher safety ratings in all categories reviewed by the IIHS
  • The safety ratings for these midsize SUVs from GMC and Chevy may be a strong factor that could help you to decide which vehicle to buy

Between the GMC Acadia, the GMC Terrain, and the Chevy Equinox, it can be challenging to determine which of these 2017 midsize SUVs is right for you to buy.

With their smooth ride and elevation on the road in comparison to many other vehicles, they can give you an unfounded sense of safety.

However, a close inspection of the individual safety test results released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for these SUVs reveals that they may not be as safe to drive as you might think.

You want to select a vehicle that is designed with safety in mind for the overall benefit of you and your passengers in the years to come.

With a safer vehicle, you could save money on car insurance for the entire time you own your next SUV. Make sure to use the free quote tool above to compare rates today! 

When safety is a concern, reviewing the eight individual safety test results from the IIHS can provide you with detailed information about each of these vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses on the road.

GMC Versus Chevy Midsize SUV Ratings

As you closely examine test results for the two GMC SUV models and the single Chevy model in this vehicle class, you will see that one of the three models clearly rises above the others in the area of safety.

To provide you with a well-rounded picture of each vehicle’s overall safety capabilities, the IIHS completes eight unique safety tests on newly released vehicles.

To promote your improved understanding of the safety test results, you will find that the tests are grouped together based on the area of safety that they analyze.

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What the IIHS Safety Tests Reveal about Each SUV

With eight safety tests placed into three larger safety groups, you can easily analyze the results in areas that are most relevant to you in order to make a solid buying decision.

The larger groups analyze:

  • LATCH safety – indicates the ease with which child car seats can be installed in a vehicle
  • Crashworthiness – examine if a vehicle can properly keep occupants safe in the event of a car accident
  • Crash Avoidance – indicates if a vehicle has the capability to avoid accidents entirely or to reduce how severe they may be

They are typically graded in one of these four ways:

  • Poor
  • Marginal
  • Average
  • Good

There is one test, however, that is graded with scores that range from “basic” up to “advanced” and “superior.”

How easily can car seats be installed in the vehicle?

In order to keep young passengers safe while you are driving in your new midsize SUV, they must be securely fastened into a child car seat.

More than that, the child car seat must be securely anchored to the car’s latches. For the LATCH safety test, the Acadia, Terrain, and Equinox all received a rating of “average.”

Can the SUV protect occupants in a crash?

The IIHS analyzes five test results to determine the answer to this question, and the tests conducted are in the areas of Roof Strength, Side, Head Restraints and Seats, Front Small Overlap, and Front Moderate Overlap.

The IIHS places more weight on the results of the Front Small Overlap and Front Moderate Overlap test results.

The good news is that the Acadia, Terrain, and Equinox all received the highest scores possible for all five of these tests.

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How does the SUV perform before or during an accident?

To analyze the vehicle’s ability to avoid or mitigate a crash, the tests for Front Crash Prevention and Headlights are completed.

The Acadia had the highest test score of “superior” for this important test, and the other two models had the lowest test score possible of “basic.”

For the Headlights test, the Equinox was not tested. The Acadia received a score of “marginal,” and the Terrain was rated at “poor.”

IIHS Top Safety Pick: SUVs Honored for Excellence in Safety

In 2017, the GMC Acadia was one of several vehicles in the midsize SUV class that were recipients of either the IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award.

This vehicle had high enough scores in all relevant test areas to receive the Top Safety Pick honor, and the Terrain and Equinox were not recognized.

A vehicle must receive higher marks in the Headlights and five crashworthy tests to be honored with a Top Safety Pick title.

A Safer Pick: GMC or Chevy?


In the midsize SUV class for 2017, the GMC Acadia had better safety results than the other two models in critical areas. This includes in Front Crash Prevention and Headlights.

In addition, the Terrain only slightly edged out over the Equinox, and this is because the Equinox was not tested in the Headlights area.

As important as safety is to your decision-making process, understand that this is only one of the numerous factors to analyze if you want to make an overall great buying decision.

For example, you may also want to request online insurance quotes to learn about the cost of coverage for each of these models. Use our free quote tool to compare quotes online now! 

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