Is Honda’s safety rating for midsize SUVs better than GMC’s?

Honda and GMC's midsize SUVs both received top safety ratings, but Honda scored slightly higher. Save up to 8% on car insurance rates by installing new safety features.

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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: Jan 20, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • For the two GMC midsize SUVs and the single Honda midsize SUV, only two were recognized by the IIHS for having exceptional safety test results
  • The 2017 GMC Terrain had the lowest possible safety ratings in two of eight tests conducted by the IIHS
  • Safety is just one of numerous factors that auto insurance companies analyze when preparing a quote for SUV coverage

When you analyze midsize SUVs with the model year 2017, it is understandable why you may narrow down your buying options to the Honda Pilot, the GMC Acadia, or the GMC Terrain.

Each of these SUVs has an appealing exterior design and a thoughtfully appointed interior. When you test drive them, all three of the SUVs may give you a feeling of comfort and security because of their large size and exceptional features.

However, the IIHS has conducted eight, unique safety tests on these three SUVs, and the results of the safety tests are not quite as uniform as you might think.

If you’d like to further safeguard you and your car with better auto insurance, enter your ZIP code above and compare at least three to four policies today!

How the GMC and Honda Midsize SUV Ranked in IIHS Safety Tests

While the primary purpose of the eight IIHS safety tests is to help manufacturers identify areas that need improvement in future models to maximize safety on the road, the test results are also used by consumers to determine the safest vehicles in a specific class to buy.

To simplify your analysis of the test results, the IIHS has clustered the eight tests into three larger groups, and these are the crash avoidance and mitigation, crashworthiness, and LATCH groups.

What the IIHS Safety Tests Mean

While you are now aware of the three primary safety categories that the eight IIHS test groups are allocated into, you may not know what they mean.

The two tests in the crash avoidance and mitigation group tell you how well a specific SUV model may respond to avoid or reduce the significance of an auto collision.

The five tests that are in the crashworthiness group tell you about the SUV’s ability to prevent or reduce injuries to occupants in the event of a collision. The final LATCH category for IIHS safety tests indicates if the anchors or latches in a car are easy to secure a car seat to.

These tests are individually rated with one of the following grades:

  • Poor
  • Marginal
  • Average
  • Good

However, when you look at the results for the Front Crash Prevention test, you will notice that the grades are either “basic,” “advanced,” or “superior.”

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Can the SUV effectively avoid or mitigate a car accident?

Front Crash Prevention and Headlights are the two tests that fall under the crash avoidance and mitigation group. The IIHS test for Front Crash Prevention indicates a score of “superior” for the Pilot and Acadia, and a score of “basic” was given to the Terrain.

The Pilot was given an “average” score for Headlights. The Acadia was given a “marginal” rating, and the Terrain only had a “poor” rating in this test area.

Can the SUV protect passengers and drivers in a crash?

To determine how crashworthy a specific model is, the IIHS runs tests for Front Moderate Overlap, Head Restraint and Seats, Side, Roof Strength, and Front Small Overlap.

The Honda Pilot, the GMC Terrain, and the GMC Acadia all had a “good” rating for all five tests in this group.

Are the car seat anchors easy to use?

In the LATCH safety group, the IIHS only runs one test to determine how easy car seats are to install. The two GMC models and the Honda model in the midsize SUV class were all rated “average” in this test area.

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How the IIHS Honors Exceptional Safety Test Results

The GMC Terrain did not receive special recognition for having exceptional IIHS test results in 2017.

On the other hand, the GMC Acadia received recognition through the Top Safety Pick award, and the Honda Pilot received an even higher recognition through the Top Safety Pick+ award.

To qualify for the lesser acknowledgment, vehicles had to score well in the Front Crash Prevention and five crashworthiness tests. The higher recognition was given when these factors were met and when the vehicle had a high score in the Headlights area.

Is a GMC or Honda midsize SUV right for you?

When you are focused on finding a safe midsize SUV to purchase, the Honda Pilot has the best overall safety ratings for all three of these vehicles.

However, the GMC Acadia only had a slightly lower rating in one of the test areas, which was the Headlights test area. The Terrain received substantially lower safety test results in several of the IIHS test sections.

Remember that safety is only one factor to pay attention to when you are trying to decide which 2017 midsize SUV to purchase.

For example, another important area, which may be influenced partially by safety ratings and features in the vehicle, is auto insurance cost. If you are still trying to decide which of these SUV models to purchase, comparing insurance quotes online could be a helpful step to take.

Start comparison shopping today for better and more affordable car insurance by entering your ZIP code below!

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