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

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

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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 2017 IIHS test results for the midsize SUV category include two Hyundai models and one Honda model
  • Each of the three Hyundai and Honda midsize SUV models reviewed by the IIHS in 2017 received a commendation of either Top Safety Pick for 2017 or Top Safety Pick+ for 2017
  • Analyzing ratings for each of the eight safety tests conducted on these vehicles may help you to decide which model to purchase

One of the reasons why you may be taking a closer look at either the 2017 Honda Pilot, the Hyundai Santa Fe, or the Santa Fe Sport is because of how large and roomy these vehicles are.

SUVs in the midsize class often lull drivers into feeling safe and secure behind the wheel because of their size, but not all midsize SUVs have similarly high safety ratings.

In fact, some have stunningly low ratings in critical test areas.

If you want to learn more about the safety test results for vehicles in this class, spend a few minutes examining the SUV test results prepared for you by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Both Hyundai and Honda are reputable, trusted brands, and you may expect undeniably high safety test scores for all models manufactured by them.

While all three of the SUV midsize models analyzed by the IIHS in 2017 had relatively high scores, some vehicles ranked much higher in specific and important test areas.

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Analyzing the Hyundai Midsize SUVs against the Honda SUV Models


It can be challenging to decide between two well-established automotive brands and to choose between the three stylish SUV models made by these automakers.

One critical factor that you do not want to overlook when comparison shopping is the matter of safety.

The IIHS safety test results for 2017 vehicle classes examines safety test scores in eight individual areas, and these individual areas are combined into three larger safety categories.

For seven of these eight safety tests, results are provided with the following possible ratings:

  • Good
  • Average
  • Marginal
  • Poor

The final category, which is Front Crash Prevention, has published results with these possible ratings:

  • Superior
  • Advanced
  • Basic

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Reviewing the Safety Test Categories

When buying a new SUV, finding a vehicle that will be as protective as possible if you are involved in an accident is important.



All three of the SUV models in this vehicle class from Honda and Hyundai have a “good” rating. This is the highest possible rating for each of these five safety tests.

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

All three of these SUV models had a “superior” Front Crash Prevention score, but the Honda Pilot had a slightly lower overall score in this section than the two Hyundai SUV models had.

The Santa Fe received a “good” grade in the Headlights test area. The Pilot received an “average” score, and the Santa Fe Sport had a grade of “poor.”

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

The Honda SUV and two Hyundai SUVs in the midsize class received a moderate or “average” rating for the LATCH test in 2017.

If you intend to use child safety seats in your new SUV, this is a category that you want to pay close attention to.

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

You will notice that some of the SUV models that were reviewed by the IIHS in 2017 have an acknowledgment of either Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+.

The Santa Fe and Pilot were both recipients of the Top Safety Pick+ recognition, and the Santa Fe Sport received the Top Safety Pick recognition for this year.

These safety awards require vehicles to rate well in several key areas tested by the IIHS.

Is Hyundai safer than Honda in 2017 for midsize SUVs?


Because the Santa Fe and Pilot both received the same safety award from the IIHS, it may seem confusing trying to decide which model is safer for you and your loved ones to ride in regularly.

The Santa Fe had a slightly better score in Front Crash Prevention and in Headlights, making it the safest choice for all three of the Honda and Hyundai midsize SUVs reviewed.

The Headlights rating for the Santa Fe Sport was even lower than the Pilot’s score in this test area.

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Selecting an Affordable Midsize SUV

You may not realize it, but safety and insurance rates are moderately connected. For example, most auto insurance companies review safety features and ratings when estimating an insurance premium amount for you.

Because these three SUVs have very similar safety test ratings in multiple areas, it could be helpful to request auto insurance quotes on each one before you make a purchase.

Remember that auto insurance rates can be a burdensome expense in your budget for years, and understating insurance rates before you buy a specific vehicle is wise.

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