Is Buick’s safety rating for midsize luxury SUVs better than BMW’s?

The IIHS indicates that the Buick is the overall safer vehicle. The average rate of auto insurance for luxury SUV's is around 18% higher than other vehicles.

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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 5, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The IIHS reviewed one Buick model and two BMW models in the luxury midsize SUV category for 2017
  • Safety ratings from the IIHS include a detailed analysis of eight critical safety areas, and these may be relevant to your buying decision
  • The Buick Envision was rated as a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, but the BMW SUVs had higher ratings than the Buick in a couple of safety areas

Many SUV buyers assume that when they invest in a high-end brand vehicle or a luxury model they are getting the best possible driving experience available. This mentality may even extend to assumptions about how safe luxury SUVs are.

With a closer look at the safety ratings created by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for midsize luxury SUVs in 2017, you can see that there is considerable variation in how safe each vehicle in this class may be in different areas tested.

You may have your list of possible SUVs to buy narrowed down to the 2017 Buick Envision, the BMW X5.

Each of these models has exceptional features and key selling points that you may be drawn to, but their IIHS safety test results differ in a few critical areas. 

Analyzing the test results may help you to more easily decide which luxury SUV you should buy in the near future if safety is a top concern. Make sure to compare rates with our free quote tool above! 

A Review of the Buick Envision Versus the Midsize Luxury BMW SUVs


Both Buick and BMW SUVs are commonly selected for commuting vehicles because of their pampering interior and thoughtful features, and these vehicles may also be purchased as family cars that transport your loved ones on a regular basis.

For these and other transportation purposes, safety is undeniably a top concern when you are buying a new luxury midsize SUV.

In 2017, the IIHS tested these and other SUV models in three primary areas, and this includes several sub-categories in the first two safety areas.

To simplify the analysis of safety test results for you, the IIHS has given each vehicle a rating for most categories of:

  • Good
  • Average
  • Marginal
  • Poor

Uniquely, the sub-section of Front Crash Prevention under the IIHS Crash Avoidance and Mitigation safety area is rated on a range from “basic” to “superior.”


One of the three safety areas that the IIHS reviews is Crashworthiness, which is analyzed in five sub-groups, and it examines how well the vehicle performs in a collision when protecting occupants from harm.

Notably, the Buick Envision had the highest rank of “good” in all five sub-groups in this safety section.

The BMW X3 was not rated in the Front Small Overlap area, and it had a “good” rating in the following areas:

  • Roof Strength
  • Front Moderate Overlap
  • Front Small Overlap
  • Side
  • Head Restraints and Seats

The BMW X5 was not rated in the areas of Front Small Overlap, Roof Strength, or Head Restraints and Seats, but it had a “good” score in the remaining two Crashworthiness sub-groups.

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

The two BMW models reviewed by the IIHS had the highest rating of “superior” for Front Crash Prevention, and the Buick scored a lesser grade of “advanced” in this area.

The Buick Envision and BMW X5 had an “average” grade for Headlights, and the BMW X3 had a “marginal” Headlights rating.


LATCH for the Child Seat Anchors

For SUV buyers who intend to have younger passengers in their new vehicle, the ease of use for the child car seat anchors is a prime concern.

The LATCH for child seat anchors category analyzed by the IIHS explores this topic fully. All three of the Buick and BMW SUV models reviewed in 2017 scored a “marginal” rating for the LATCH category, and this score is only one level above the lowest rating possible.

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


If you are looking for an easy way to identify which vehicles in this SUV class are safer to drive, looking for the vehicles that received the Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick for 2017 acknowledgment from the IIHS is a great idea.

To receive either of these coveted honors, the vehicles had to get a “good” rating in all five Crashworthiness sections as well as a higher rating for Front Crash Prevention. The Top Safety Pick+ award also requires the vehicle to have a higher grade in the Headlights area.

Neither of the two BMW SUV models reviewed in 2017 had high enough ratings to qualify for these awards.

The Buick model, however, was honored with the Top Safety Pick+ award. Because of the variations in some categories, however, you may need to decide which safety categories are most relevant or important to you before you finalize your buying decision.

Is Buick safer than BMW in 2017 for midsize luxury SUVs?

With a closer review of the various safety ratings for the two BMW SUV models and the Buick SUV model, you will notice that the vehicles ranked similarly in several test areas and the two BMW models were not reviewed at all for a few other Crashworthiness areas.

They even rated higher in the Front Crash Prevention area than the Buick model did.

However, the specific criteria used to rate the vehicles for the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS indicates that the Buick is the overall safer vehicle to drive.

Choosing Your New SUV

Safety ratings are important to review before you buy an SUV, but other factors are equally important.

For example, you need auto insurance costs for your new vehicle to be affordable, so you should compare SUV insurance quotes for each of the top models that you may realistically purchase.

By reviewing auto insurance quotes online today, you can find a vehicle that may be more affordable to own and drive from an insurance coverage standpoint.

However, other factors about midsize luxury SUVs should also be reviewed, such as reliability, cost, fuel efficiency, and other factors, before you make a final buying decision. Don’t miss out on our free quote tool below! Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates now!

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