July 25, 2024
SUVs & Crossovers

IIHS tests safety of 3 large SUVs, Jeep Wagoneer ranks highest in crash tests

One of the persistent misconceptions in the automotive industry is that purchasing a large SUV will provide greater safety. While it may be true that larger, heavier vehicles cause more damage to other vehicles on the road, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s latest research indicates that not all large SUVs offer enhanced safety features.

The IIHS conducted tests on three large SUVs: The 2023-2024 Jeep Wagoneer, the 2023-2024 Chevrolet Tahoe, and the 2023-2024 Ford Expedition. Out of these, only the Wagoneer received a Top Safety Pick award, although it did not receive the “plus” designation due to its failure to adequately protect rear-seat passengers.

David Harkey, the President of the IIHS, stated, “The large size of these SUVs offers some added protection in collisions with smaller vehicles, but it also means they pose a greater risk to other road users. The downside of their size is the increased force involved in crashes with fixed obstacles like trees, bridge abutments, or barriers used in our front crash tests.”

The Chevy Tahoe showed acceptable performance in protecting the driver in the driver-side crash test, but the passenger-side test revealed significant intrusion into the footwell, leading to a high risk of injury to the right foot and left leg. The Expedition performed even worse in both tests, with the steering wheel partially detaching from the instrument panel in the driver-side test and footwell intrusion on the passenger side. Additionally, its A-pillar detached from the rocker panel in both tests.

Given their common use as family vehicles, the IIHS included an additional dummy in the second row during testing. All three SUVs displayed significant risks to second-row passengers, with high seatbelt forces posing a threat of chest injuries. The Expedition was the lone vehicle equipped with second-row seatbelt pretensioners, which help limit passenger movement, although its second-row side-curtain airbags did not deploy.


1. Which large SUV received a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS?

The Jeep Wagoneer was the only large SUV to receive a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS.

2. What safety concerns were identified in the Chevy Tahoe during testing?

The Chevy Tahoe showed significant intrusion into the footwell during the passenger-side crash test, posing a high risk of injury to the right foot and left leg.


While larger SUVs may offer some advantages in terms of protection in certain collisions, it is important to consider the overall safety performance of individual models. The recent IIHS testing highlights the varying levels of safety features and performance among large SUVs, emphasizing the need for consumers to prioritize safety when choosing a vehicle.

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