Is Audi’s safety rating for large SUVs better than Buick’s?

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Things to remember...
  • The vehicles that families purchase are becoming more size-oriented than ever before
  • These vehicles offer seats for over half-a-dozen people with power to outperform many small cars
  • When size that matches 5,000 pounds comes in question, one must be skeptical about the safety of the vehicle, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety works to make the process of buying safe cars easier
  • To give an example of how these tests work, comparing Audi’s Q7 with Buick Enclave. should be a great scrutiny that facilitates major categories overview

Multi-member households have always been the major market share that is interested in vehicles that provide spacious cabins. Newer models of large SUVs are customer-made to tailor the needs of middle-class families.

Some characteristics these buyers adore are the following:

  • notable fuel efficiencies even though SUVs have incredibly strong engines
  • the seating arrangement that can be customized if needed
  • long-lasting infrastructure that will not need frequent repairs

A growing issue for the manufacturers, however, is the safety of vehicles that are so large. Making it possible for one to easily slow down or come to a complete stop with a car that is over 5,000 pounds going in excess of 90 miles per hour seems impossible.

To test how indeed impossible this is, the IIHS will perform extensive real-world tests where vehicles are hit so many times that the models tested are not usable afterward.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performs collisions and observation reviews that give scores on three categories:

Crashworthiness is based on vehicle’s performance on moderate and small front overlap tests, seat and roof strength, and head restraints effectiveness. The grades for this test can be good, acceptable, moderate, and poor.

The child prevention test determines how much a car is able to reduce its speed in light of an imminent danger. The grades for this test differ slightly as they are basic, advanced, and superior.

Lastly, LATCH test evaluates the accessibility of child seat anchors with the same grades as crashworthiness uses.

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Audi Q7 Versus Buick Enclave

Audi Q7 is one of the best models that the IIHS ever reviewed. With this in mind, it is unrealistic to expect Buick to outperform it, although further analysis might prove this claim wrong.

— Crashworthiness

The grades that Q7 scored in this test are “good” in every single of the five categories. The dummy used during the collisions obtained minimum injuries as his survival space was maintained well.

Airbag deployment was very efficient and prevented any head or neck injuries. Also, the roof’s strength-to-weight ratio was five which is well within the highest category.

Peak force of the vehicle was capped at 24,749 pounds thus amplifying the degree of success that Audi showcased as the force of this magnitude caused no injuries to the dummy.

Buick Enclave had a very close performance that was undermined by its lack of small overlap front test.

With no review in this category, one cannot accurately evaluate the vehicle’s ability to maintain the survival space or the extent of injuries that the dummy could have sustained.

Regardless, getting four “good” grades, scoring a four on the roof’s evaluation, and capping at 19,898 pounds of force are still impressive statistics.

— Crash Prevention & Mitigation

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This test is performed by speeding the cars up to 12 mph and 25 mph.

After that speed is achieved the vehicle is reviewed for its ability to reduce the speed in time to avoid a collision. Q7 continues its high standard by avoiding a collision during the 12-mph test and by slowing down to two mph in the 25-mph test.

This performance means that its danger detection system and auto-brake performance is excellent, which could save many lives in the long-run. Enclave failed to live up to high expectations as it only scored one point (as opposed to a perfect score of six points of Q7).

That point came from the fact that the vehicle will warn about a potential danger, but there are no preventive measures to help the driver avoid a collision.

— Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

Since these are SUV vehicles, it is expected that children will be transported which brings child seats into play. Manufacturers had to demonstrate an ability to make the LATCH as accessible as possible.

Audi, once again, performed incredibly in this category as it received a “good plus” grade.

This grade came from the fact that its latches were located appropriately, very visible, easy to connect, and there were even extra anchors available.

Buick, however, only attained an “acceptable” score as its LATCH systems were too deep in the seats on two instances while meeting the other requirements.

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

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Since Audi Q7 obtained five good grades in crashworthiness and a superior rating for crash prevention abilities, it was selected as the Top Safety Pick.

It failed to get the “Plus” status as its headlights were only rated “moderate,” making it the lowest grade this vehicle achieved on anything.

Buick’s lack of small overlap test and poor performance in the crash prevention test cost it the Top Safety Pick status.

After reviewing the details of Audi Q7’s and Buick Enclave’s performance, the original claim seems to stand.

Audi outperformed its competitor who lacked in the area of crashworthiness (no small overlap front test score), crash prevention, and child seat anchors accessibility.

Thus, every single test was a victory for Audi, but Buick obtained some decent scores that are still better than many other vehicles in the market.

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