Is Acura’s safety rating for midsize luxury SUVs better than Audi’s?

Acura and Audi SUV models received top safety honors from the IIHS in test studies. For some SUV models, auto insurance can average up to 18% more.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 1, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The 2017 Acura and Audi models in the luxury midsize SUV class all received top honors for safety from the IIHS
  • While Acura’s two luxury midsize SUVs generally had higher IIHS safety ratings than the Audi model, the Audi model did have a higher rating in the important LATCH safety category
  • The three primary safety areas tested by the IIHS in 2017 are crashworthiness, LATCH, and crash avoidance and mitigation

Acura and Audi are two of the more popular luxury automotive manufacturers today. Both have an incredible reputation for producing sophisticated, innovative vehicles that pamper drivers and passengers with supreme comfort and exceptional features.

In fact, when you test drive the Acura MDX, Acura RDX, or Audi Q5 in the luxury midsize SUV class, you may easily feel lulled into a sense of safety and security behind the wheel.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has analyzed almost two dozen vehicles in the luxury midsize vehicle class in 2017, and safety ratings span across a broad spectrum.

Many buyers of luxury vehicles simply assume that safety features in these vehicles would be top-notch.

However, when you analyze the safety ratings from the IIHS for the 2017 Acura and Audi models, you will notice significant variations in some categories that were reviewed.

Compare car insurance quotes between these two models by entering your zip code into our free rate tool above.

Audi Versus Acura: Comparing the IIHS Safety Ratings


With both Acura and Audi midsize luxury SUVs attracting your attention, a comparison of the IIHS safety ratings for these specific models is in order.

The three SUVs manufactured by these automakers in this class have been reviewed by the IIHS for the primary safety areas of child seat anchors, crashworthiness, and the ability to avoid or mitigate a crash. Most of the safety ratings were given a possible grade of:

  • Poor
  • Marginal
  • Average
  • Good

Under the crash mitigation and avoidance category, however, the Front Crash Prevention test had possible ratings of:

  • Basic
  • Advanced
  • Superior


What the IIHS Safety Categories Mean

Before you learn more about how each of these three midsize luxury SUVs rates in the various areas, you need to know what the safety categories mean.

The first area of crashworthiness examines how effectively each SUV may protect occupants from injuries in a collision situation, and this category features five unique safety tests.

The second area of crash mitigation and avoidance reviews the vehicle’s ability to prevent or reduce the significance of a crash, and this is analyzed through two safety tests.

The final LATCH category has only one safety test, and it examines how easy it is for drivers to properly install child safety seats to an SUV’s latches or anchors.

How Crashworthy the Vehicles Are

In order to determine how well each SUV in this class can perform in the crashworthiness area, the IIHS has conducted tests for Side, Front Small Overlap, Front Moderate Overlap, Roof Strength, and Seats and Head Restraints.

The Audi Q5, Acura MDX, and Acura RDX all received a “good” score for each of these five tests.

How Well the Vehicles Avoid or Mitigate a Collision

The IIHS conducts two tests to determine how well the SUVs each perform to avoid or mitigate a crash, and these tests are for Headlights and for Front Crash Prevention.

While all three of these SUVs received a “superior” score for Front Crash Prevention, the Q5 had a slightly lower “superior” rating overall. 

The two Acura SUVs reviewed in this vehicle class received an “average” mark for Headlights, and the Audi SUV registered with a Headlights test result of “marginal.”

How Easy It Is to Secure a Child Seat to the Vehicle’s Anchors


While the Acura has ranked equivalent or better in every other IIHS safety category, the two Acura models reviewed in this category for the 2017 rate below the Audi in the LATCH category.

The Audi had a “good” LATCH score, and the Acura MDX and RDX both had an “average” score for this category.

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Top IIHS Safety Awards

Each year, the IIHS doles out awards for Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+. The former award is based on the qualification of a “good” score in all five of the crashworthiness tests and a higher rating for the Front Crash Prevention test.

The latter award has these same requirements, and it also has the additional requirement of a higher Headlight test score. The two Acura models reviewed by the IIHS in 2017 received the award for Top Safety Pick+, and the Audi Q5 received the Top Safety Pick award.

Determining If Acura Has Safer Vehicles in this Class than Audi


The IIHS safety awards do not take the LATCH rating into account, which is the one safety test area where the Audi surpassed the two Acura models.

However, in all of the other safety tests conducted by the IIHS for the luxury midsize SUV class, the two Acura SUVs scored the same or better than the Audi vehicle.

Therefore, the two Acura models have overall better safety ratings than the Audi Q5 has in 2017.

Remember that car insurance rates can partially be affected by overall safety ratings as well as specific safety statistics. Buying an SUV that has affordable auto insurance may help you to keep the overall cost of ownership as low as possible.

However, because multiple factors can affect SUV insurance rates, it may be beneficial to request a few insurance quotes before you decide with of these luxury SUVs you should buy. Enter your zip code below to compare car insurance quotes right now!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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