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

Audi large SUV's received a higher safety rating than GMC SUV's from the IIHS in recent studies. Auto insurance costs around 18% more for some SUV models.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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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...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 24, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Large SUVs have given the word “large” a brand-new meaning as they continue to push the boundaries of size and convenience in a positive direction
  • These vehicles are produced to fit many people, which is a famous selling point with households looking to grow their families, and features such as customizable seats, robust engines, and reliable performance cement their presence in the market
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s role becomes important as they classify cars on a very-safe to not-so-safe spectrum
  • To demonstrate the process while making a comparison of some of the most prominent large SUVs in the market, Audi’s Q7 and GMC’s Acadia Limited will be reviewed simultaneously

Sport Utility Vehicles or SUVs have become mainstream popular at the turn of the millennium, in between the late-1990s and mid-2000s.

Since then, manufacturers have improved on cars that come with six to seven seats, the fuel efficiency of over 20 miles per gallon, engines that produce over two hundred horse-powers easily, and more.

Those traits mixed with the contemporary look of large SUVs help make them a choice of many drivers around the nation. The only obvious problem-area originates from the increased weight of these machines, which often range anywhere from 4,000 to over 5,000 pounds.

People who have made the switch from a smaller car tend to overlook the size as one of the most important customs to get adjusted to.

Thus, a very dangerous side effect of new-founded SUV drivers is their unfamiliarity with the control difficulties during poor weather, sharp curves, and more.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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Nevertheless, new buyers can rely on the reviews provided by the IIHS to base their purchase. This company tests vehicles in categories of:

Both crashworthiness and child anchors are graded on a four-score scale including good, acceptable, moderate, and poor grades, while crash prevention can be superior, advanced, and basic.

Crashworthiness

This category is based on five different sub-tests that include:

  • Small overlap front
  • Moderate overlap front
  • Side
  • Roof strength
  • Head restraints & Seats

Vehicles are assessed after undergoing a collision that aims to test the degree of injuries that the sensor-labeled dummy in the driver seat will incur.

The GMC Acadia Limited was rated “good” in every single category besides the small overlap front test.

The roof strength-to-weight ratio was four, which places it just barely over the threshold for the highest grade. Notable features of the vehicle that prevented major bodily injuries were:

  • side airbags
  • rollover sensors
  • electronic stability control
  • antilock brakes

As far as the Audi Q7, no tests were left uncompleted as this giant scored a high grade for every single of the five sub-evaluations. The vehicle was capable of preserving the dummy with a great survival space that facilitated an injury-free doll.

The roof’s strength-to-weight ratio was five, thus beating GMC’s model by a moderate margin.

Overall, the Audi took this category as it had more tests performed with a slightly better feature package.

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Crash Prevention & Mitigation

As far as this crash avoidance goes, it is scaled out of six points maximum where one point goes to the existence of a collision-warning system, two points are aimed at a 12 mph speed reduction test, and three points go to the 25 miles per hour speed reduction test.

GMC, once again, came short of some industry-wide standards as it only scored one point given for its collision warning sensors. The lack of other points comes from the inability to implement auto brake that will slow down the vehicle looking into the eyes of a potent danger.

Audi, however, achieved every single point as its systems to avoid collision slowed the car down completely in the 12 mph test and achieved a 23 mph speed reduction during the last part of the test.

Audi has far-reaching abilities to save lives whereas GMC has a lot of work to be done.

Child Seat Anchors or LATCH

One hoping to see GMC Acadia Limited outperform Audi in this category will be disappointed. The way the IIHS rates latches is based on their accessibility or how visible they are, does one have to use a lot of force, do they fall deep into the seat, and more.

GMC scored a “moderate” grade as the LATCH was too deep in the seat and required too much energy to connect them with the child seat.

Audi, once again, not only met all the requirements but it had additional latches that were not even required. This earned it a grade beyond “good” as it was noted “good plus.”

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

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GMC was not recognized as either of these two since it lacked some tests and performed below average on others. Audi was recognized as a Top Safety Pick due to its perfect scores across the crashworthiness category and a superior crash prevention performance.

It only came short in the area of headlights which could have given it a Top Safety Pick Plus acknowledgment.

Audi Q7 compared to GMC Acadia Limited seems to be a battle where GMC is a few years behind.

The lack of small overlap tests, and only basic ability to prevent collisions, and a moderate LATCH all facilitated GMC’s loss to Audi who performed outstandingly in all of those categories.

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