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

For midsize SUVs, the GMC Acadia safety ratings were much better than ratings for the Jeep Cherokee. Due to GMC midsize SUVs scoring higher than Jeep midsize SUVs they will generally have lower insurance rates. The GMC Acadia safety ratings were high enough to earn the Top Safety Pick award.

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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...

  • Two American companies, GMC and Jeep, have established themselves as reliable car manufacturers over the previous decades
  • To prevent issues in safety from arising, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety assesses all the necessary tools that a vehicle must possess in order to be approved
  • In order for one to stay protected even after an accident, an appropriate insurance must exist

With a growing market for vehicles, manufacturers have focused their endeavors on customers’ needs. Since the United States has 125.82 million households, it comes as no surprise that SUVs are commonly purchased.

An example of two brands highly familiar with this is GMC and Jeep.

Both Jeep and GMC are American-based companies and they have been around for over 180 years combined. GMC is headquartered in Michigan, Detroit, where it operates as a subdivision of General Motors.

Jeep has their headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, and their history of car-manufacturing was directly related to the military needs.

Nowadays, both brands work hard to develop the most prominent SUV, especially Jeep since this is the only type of cars it produces. Examples of their creations are GMC’s Acadia, Yukon, and Terrain as well as Jeep Wrangler, Liberty, and Rubicon.

Compare car insurance quotes for these models to see how much you could save depending on which vehicle you went with. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to get started.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

Formed over half-a-century ago, the Institute is based in Virginia where it has a large, modern facility with equipment capable of testing vehicles’ safety. The procedure is based on three categories that serve as bottom lines of a high-quality protection:

  • Crashworthiness – further broken down into tests of small and moderate overlap crash, roof and side impact, and head restraints. Rating scale has four grades, good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.
  • Crash Prevention – only contains two sub-categories which are a 12-mph and 25-mph review. The grades are not the same as a car can be superior, advanced, or basic as far as avoidance abilities go.
  • Child Anchors – No subdivisions of any kind, the tests are based on physically inspecting the latches.

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GMC Acadia Versus Jeep Cherokee (2017)


The comparison between two most successful models from GMC and Jeep starts off with very close performances. Cherokee received four good scores for its crashworthiness tests as well as one marginal rating, while Acadia received all good ratings.

The shortcoming that Jeep failed to address for the fourth year in a row was the small overlap test issue.

The dummy inside the vehicle was exposed to dangerous injuries since the survival space was not maintained, seat belt allowed too much movement, the front airbag did not prevent the head from hitting other objects, and the side airbag was not even deployed.

Acadia, on the other hand, reliably deployed every single airbag and reduced the injury risk to the driver. Also, the survival space was maintained properly which could, but not necessarily, be prescribed to better construction and larger cabin size of the vehicle.

The only area where Cherokee outperformed Acadia was the roof test as its ratio was 0.25 smaller.

Nonetheless, the underwhelming small overlap test performance by Jeep clearly cost it this test which GMC won.

Crash Prevention & Mitigation


The scores for the prevention test can total to six points. GMC made sure to obtain every single point while Jeep received five. Regardless of the small difference, both models showed a superior performance in this area.

The one point that Jeep could not obtain came from the 25-mph test where the speed reduction showcased was not reflective of a collision-avoiding speed decrease.

Interestingly enough, GMC reduced the speed by 24 miles per hour in that test, which is twice the amount of Jeep’s speed decline. Hence, GMC won another category with a tiny margin.

An area where Jeep finally compensated for its losses to GMC was the headlights review. Its acceptable rating defeated Acadia’s marginal performance that was caused by an inadequate visibility in all four tests.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

Lastly, both vehicles showed an acceptable ability to connect a child seat to their latches. Some issues were seen as the anchors were too deep in the seat in GMC’s case, and there was other hardware similar to latches in Jeep’s case.

The number of full anchor seats was two for each vehicle, while GMC had an extra tether-anchor-only seat available. Regardless, the ultimate score for this assessment had very little impact on the overall comparison results.

2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+


Since GMC showcased a good ability to protect the driver during the crashworthiness tests and had a superior rating for crash prevention, it was given the Top Safety Pick award.

Jeep did not win either of the two awards as its crashworthiness had a marginal score in the small overlap test. This disqualified it from the award-race since the Institute deems it necessary for vehicles to showcase a perfect performance in these five sub-categories.

GMC won the overall comparison because it had more consistent scores in crashworthiness (small overlap test), a one-point victory in the crash prevention evaluation, and some additional anchors available.

Jeep came close with most of the scores which demonstrate that the vehicle is far from bad.

Areas of improvement for both SUVs exist. Jeep must work on the small overlap test and provide better airbags, more protection during the crash, as well as improve upon the 25-mph crash prevention test capabilities.

GMC, similarly, has issues with its marginal headlights and has more work to do on the latches that should be rated good.

For buyers interested in either of the vehicles, more factors come into play than just these scores given by the Institute. One very relevant issue that must be addressed is what type of insurance will the car require.

The analysis of the prospective insurance is based on how high can the premiums be, how will this affect the deductible amount during an accident or a repair, how much coverage is needed, and so on.

Since most people buying a car are not insurance experts, online websites that provide various companies that sell insurance can be a good starting point.

These sites enable people to pick the best coverage out of the ones offered, as well as to research how insurance works in general. Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool below to get started finding the insurer who’s right for you!

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