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

The Audi Q7 received a higher safety rating than the Chevy Traverse from the IIHS in recent tests. The rate of auto insurance is around 18% higher for luxury SUV's.

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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: Oct 28, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • These vehicles are strength-oriented machines that, nonetheless, live and breathe comfortably.
  • Given the colossal weight, however, SUVs are not exactly an epitome of safety as even minor negligence can be detrimental to the driver’s well-being
  • In order to quantify performance in dangerous instances, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety uses state-of-the-art equipment to properly evaluate automobiles
  • A comparison of top-class, large SUVs necessitates vehicles made by the most conspicuous brands

Since midsize SUVs have hit the market, drivers seem to have forgotten what these vehicles were derived from. Large SUVs have been around ever since the first Sports Utility Vehicle was presented in the 1940s, as the size was the key selling point.

Notably, however, drivers tend to be blinded by the massive cabins and horsepower, thus neglecting all the shortcomings that a vehicle of these proportions carries.

Surely, driving a large automobile will preserve one during a collision with any smaller car most of the time, but staying in control of such a large vehicle can be a challenge.

If a large SUV has not been made properly, the following maneuvers will be very difficult:

  • parking
  • lane-changing
  • backing-up
  • turning in poor conditions
  • passing
  • coming to a full stop

This test involves multi-step safety implementation procedures and features, something that the IIHS extensively tests. This organization has been around for decades, thus helping millions of people stay safe from non-functioning mechanisms and mediocre safety tools.

They conduct testing based on real-life examples such as frontal high or low-speed collisions. Grading scales differ for various categories of the evaluation, and the purpose is to numerically rate vehicles’ ability to preserve human life.

Considering that the majority of SUV owners have families further deepens the need for IIHS testing.

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Audi Q7 Versus Chevrolet Traverse

The IIHS tests the safety of vehicles by examining crashworthiness, crash avoidance and mitigation, and child seat anchors.


The first test reviews how a car performs when it is involved in a collision. Audi Q7, a 2017 model that has outperformed many Audi’s predecessors, did overwhelmingly well.

The five sub-categories of the test (small and moderate overlap front, side and roof strength, and head restraints) are graded on a four-score scale consisting of:

  • poor
  • marginal
  • acceptable
  • good

Audi Q7 attained a perfect score throughout all the subcategories, which earned it a prominent award that will be discussed shortly. Chevrolet showed an impressive performance, although it did not have a score for the small overlap test.

While this test showcased Audi’s ability to maintain the survival space, the lack of it could be seen as harmful to Chevy Traverse. Nonetheless, no major discrepancies occurred within this portion of the review whatsoever.

Thus, both brands preserved their dummy that was not exposed to any major injuries as airbags deployed timely.


Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

After determining how capable these cars are when it comes to collisions, the IIHS quantifies their abilities to avoid a crash. Scores here are basic, moderate, and superior.

Audi Q7, once again, showed a perfect performance that achieved it six out of six points. In the 12 miles per hour test, the vehicle slowed down completely and avoided a collision. In the 25 mph test, it reduced its speed by 23 mph.

Audi’s implementation of a high-tech system called the “pre-sense city” enabled it to outperform many vehicles in the market, including Chevrolet.

Traverse scored only one out of the six available points, as its capabilities are nowhere near as impressive, thus achieving a “basic” ability to prevent collisions.

The vehicle was only able to warn about dangers without auto brakes that could reduce speed and save others. Thus, it did not come even close to Audi.

Another part of this category is the headlights’ efficiency. For unknown reasons, Chevrolet did not have a score available whereas Audi showed a “moderate” performance.

This score means that the so-far-perfect Q7 still has minor areas to improve upon, although its headlights were capable of automatic low-to-high beam switch.

Child Seat Anchors or LATCH


The last test goes back to the same scoring used in crashworthiness. This is where the IIHS evaluates how accessible, visible, and convenient latches that hold children’s seats are.

Not failing to live up to its high standards, Audi achieved a “good plus” grade that only a handful of vehicles ever got because the Q7 SUV had extra seats with latches that are easy to find, easy to use, and do not come in the way of one sitting.

Chevrolet Traverse, however, came short once more. This vehicle received an “acceptable” grade for LATCH. Ultimately, Audi fortified its unmatched capabilities with this part of the IIHS’s evaluation.

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

As previously mentioned, Audi Q7 had such substantial performance that it achieved an award for it. A Top Safety Pick was assigned to the model because of its perfect grades in crashworthiness and superior grade in crash prevention tests.

Sadly, Chevrolet’s poor crash prevention undermined its good crashworthiness.

Regardless of the number of people who discuss the comparison, Audi Q7 would be the unanimous winner. 

With a good performance in the small overlap front test that Chevrolet did not have, much better crash mitigation abilities, and more notable child seat anchors, Audi managed to overpower Chevrolet Traverse.

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