Nissan and Dodge Midsize SUV Safety Rating Comparison: Who Comes Out On Top?

Nissan and Dodge Midsize SUV Safety Rating comparison isn't a difficult task because Nissan's midsize SUVs received top awards for their safety rating, while Dodge's SUVs did not. Due to Nissan midsize SUVs scoring higher than Dodge midsize SUVs they will generally have lower insurance rates. Safety features may lower your car insurance rates by up to 8%.

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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...

  • Nissan and Dodge are two very successful auto manufacturers in the world
  • Sports Utility Vehicles have been a subject to many changes over the past couple of decades
  • Safety of vehicles is contingent on good performance during an accident as this is when people lose their lives
  • In case a famous brand fails to meet the safety standards, a company that will hold them accountable is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

To demonstrate how the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) goes about conducting their tests, a comparison between Dodge Durango and Nissan Pathfinder will be conducted.

The vehicles get assessed from every angle and strengths get praised while weaknesses get scrutinized.

Luckily, this comes as no surprise to the midsize SUV manufacturers as they hold the lives of many people. Even with the weight reduction, these autos are still over 4,000 pounds in weight and over 20,000 pounds in force.

When those statistics get mixed with bad road conditions or new drivers, an accident is waiting to happen.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to see which of these models could save you the most money in premiums. Enter your zip code to get started!

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

To reassure the buyers that vehicles will be capable of keeping them protected, the Institute will assign them a grade based on how well they perform. The tests are divided into three categories:

The grades differ and there are various sub-tests that accompany each of these categories. Those will be explained as each evaluation area is brought up.

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Dodge Durango Versus Nissan Pathfinder

Dodge Durango is one of the most prominent models that this brand has created. It can get as many as 26 mpg on a highway and has a towing capacity of over 7,000 pounds.

Nissan Pathfinder, however, caps at 6,000 pounds of towing power but provides a couple of extra miles per gallon of fuel. Regardless of the small differences, these two are very good examples to compare and demonstrate how the Institute goes about their testing.

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The beginning category comes with five tests that quantify vehicles’ abilities during an accident. Those tests are the following:

  • small front overlap
  • moderate front overlap
  • side impact
  • roof strength assessments
  • head restraints and seats

The grades a vehicle can obtain are good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

As far as the Pathfinder, it demonstrated a great ability to maintain a safe survival space, had optimal roof strength, showed fast airbags that protected the driver, and more. Hence, five good scores were given to it for every sub-division within crashworthiness.

Dodge was not so specialized as one of the tests, the small overlap front collision, pointed out obvious shortcomings with this vehicle.

The survival space was not maintained well, the driver’s head hit the interior that was not covered by the airbags, and there was a very high risk of many left leg injuries.

Therefore, the winner of the primary challenge is Nissan. The performance of this Japanese vehicle outpowered the Dodge Pathfinder’s showing.

Crash Prevention

This test incorporates a couple of different things as well. For example, there is a 12-mph and a 25-mph test where the vehicles are set to a certain speed and pointed towards concrete. The ultimate goal is to come to a full stop as that will bring the most points.

There are three ratings that are broken down into a basic, advanced, and a superior level. With Pathfinder and Durango, Nissan continued its domination over the American producer.

Dodge’s shortcoming originated from the 12 and 25-mph tests that where the auto brake was not considered.

Nissan, however, found a way to grab an additional market share with a perfect ability to avoid a crash in the 12-mph test. The 25-mph test resulted in a 14-mile speed reduction but no collision was necessarily avoided.

Therefore, the brand that showed off a better performance was Nissan, once again.

Headlights were not ideal for either of these vehicles as they obtained the marginal rating. Importantly, this disqualified both models from the Top Safety Pick Plus award.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

Lastly, another tie came from the Latch category. This one is evaluated in a less-invasive manner that involves extensive abilities to locate a latch appropriately. The highest grade possible was good and the lowest was poor.

As far as the area that these cars struggled with the most in the anchor review, the hardware that is similar to the anchors and locations too deep in the seat came as the top choices.

Since this category carries the least weight, however, rarely does one see a brand achieve a good score.

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

The Institute rewards those vehicles that showcase an above-average attention to detail and are capable of the best scores. To that end, the Top Safety Pick and the Top Safety Pick Plus are available based on the following criterion:

  • Top Safety Pick – five good scores in crashworthiness with an advanced or superior crash prevention rating
  • Top Safety Pick Plus – the above as well as an acceptable or good headlights review

In the case on Durango Versus Pathfinder, Dodge failed to obtain five good scores in the first category, therefore, it is ineligible for either of the awards. Nissan, however, won the Top Safety Pick recognition while it came short of the Plus one due to its underperforming headlights.

The Winner

The comparison seemed more like a challenge for the Dodge model to keep up. Areas such as the small overlap front test and the 12-mph and 25-mph crash prevention assessment uncovered Durango’s inability to keep up with the good scores of Nissan.

Thus, the Pathfinder almost effortlessly found its way to victory in this comparison.

Besides the clear issue of safety, buyers must consider other elements of a purchase that are implied. Those include taxes, fuel efficiency, maintenance fees, repair costs, warranty, and, most importantly, insurance.

In the United States, it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle. Everyone on the road must possess a valid insurance policy that exceeds the state minimum requirements.

Since the criteria for insurance rate is based on age, address, driving history, number of people on the policy, and much more, one might find it difficult to obtain the perfect offer.

The websites that contain a comprehensive review of multiple insurance companies are very useful in these situations. Those enable drivers to review multiple quotes and pick the best one. Enter your zip code right here to get started comparing quotes.

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