Volkswagen and Chevy Midsize SUV Safety Ratings Comparison: Who Comes Out On Top?

Volkswagen and Chevy Midsize SUV Safety Ratings comparison isn't complicated because Volkswagen's midsize SUV received high honors for its safety rating, while Chevy's midsize SUV did not. Due to Volkswagen midsize SUVs scoring higher than Chevy midsize SUVs they will generally have lower insurance rates. Upgrade your car's safety features to save up to 8% on car insurance rates.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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 difference between the safety of a Volkswagen Atlas and a Chevy Equinox is a Top Safety Pick Award
  • If you choose a vehicle that is a Top Safety Pick, you can save money on insurance and protect yourself better
  • Using IIHS to help you determine the safety of your next vehicle is wise because they are the industry standard

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) created specific tests to help people understand the safety of vehicles. Cars are put through these tests to determine if they are safe during a crash and whether or not they will be safe for the passengers.

They are also tested for the features they have that will help them avoid a collision.

So many people think just because they drive a midsize SUV, they are safe. What they don’t know is that many midsize SUVs haven’t even received a Top Safety Pick Award. In fact, many of the SUVs most people commonly think of being the safest fall to the bottom of the ratings.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the insurer that’s right for you and your vehicle. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool above to get started.

How Volkswagen and Chevy Midsize SUVs Performed

There were major differences in the safety of the Volkswagen and the Chevy midsize SUVs. They are close to each other in where they sit on the list of ratings, but they do not have similar ratings at all.

The Volkswagen Atlas was safer than the Chevy Equinox in nearly every category.

When the vehicles have gone through the tests, they are given one of four ratings:

  • poor
  • marginal
  • acceptable
  • good

The higher a vehicle has in each of the categories, the safer the vehicle is for people to drive.

The front crash prevention test is slightly different and involves a one to six point system where vehicles are then given a rating of superior, advanced or basic. No 2017 models received an advanced, they all either fell into the basic or superior category.


For the crashworthiness tests, vehicles are judged on their small and moderate front overlap. They are also judged on the side and the roof strength. To round out the crashworthiness ratings, the head restraints and seats will receive a grade.

The Volkswagen Atlas and the Chevy Equinox both got good ratings on all the crashworthiness tests. They both had identical scores to determine this rating for everything except the head restraints and the seats.

While both of the vehicles scored a good, the head restraint in the Volkswagen Atlas conformed better to the head and received a slightly higher score during the test.

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

To avoid a crash, a vehicle has to have a warning system, an auto brake, and appropriate headlights. For front crash avoidance, cars can get between one and six points. They are then added up in each category and are determined to be:

  • basic
  • advanced
  • superior

Both vehicles received one point for meeting the standards for a crash warning. The Volkswagen Atlas received a superior score because of the auto brake feature. While it is an optional piece of equipment, it is available to drivers and will reduce the speed in a crash.

In a 12-MPH crash, an accident was avoided. In a 25-MPH crash, the impact speed was reduced by 17-MPH which brought the total points to five. The Chevy Equinox only received one point because the auto brake is not available.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

The LATCH system must be easy to use for drivers to ensure their children are secured in the car seats in the vehicle. Perhaps one of the biggest problems care manufacturers have is with making other hardware close to the LATCH system that could be confused with the system.

If a driver attaches a seat to something that is not the LATCH system, they could risk their child’s life.

Both of the vehicles scored acceptable on the LATCH system ease of use test. They did not score “good” because both of them have hardware that could confuse drivers. They both have two full LATCH systems with an additional tether-only system.

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Top Safety Picks

The Volkswagen is safer than the Chevy because of the ratings each received. Because there was no data available for the Equinox’s headlights, it was scored lower than the Volkswagen Atlas. The Atlas also had a much higher score for the front crash prevention.

Because of all the scores the Atlas received, it was chosen as a Top Safety Pick by IIHS.

The institute determines cars that are Top Safety Picks based on the ratings they get. They must score “good” on everything in crashworthiness and superior on front-end prevention.

They must also not score anything below acceptable for LATCH ease of use and headlights. The Atlas just barely made it as a Top Safety Pick but was able to do so because of the front crash prevention score it received. The 2017 model was the first time the Atlas received the award.

The Chevy Equinox, while not as safe as the Atlas, still lies at the higher end of vehicles not chosen for a Top Safety Pick Award. Neither of the vehicles received a marginal or poor score based on the equipment.

Choosing a Volkswagen Atlas will help drivers save money on insurance because of its Top Safety Pick award. See how much you could save by entering your zip code into our free comparison tool below.

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