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

When comparing midsize luxury SUVs and safety, you can do better than both the Lincoln MKX and the BMW X3. Safety features can lower auto insurance rates by up to 8%.

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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
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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Things to remember...
  • SUVs are becoming increasingly popular, but Lincolns and BMWs may not be the safest choices
  • To find the safest midsize luxury SUV, check ratings provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • A vehicle’s safety rating plays a major role in the cost of insurance

Have you ever wondered why Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, are so trendy? If so, you are not alone. However, most manufacturers and researchers feel that the sheer size and roominess of an SUV are contributing factors of the ever-growing SUV trend.

In fact, midsize luxury SUVs are gaining in popularity by the day, and now you may be wondering which vehicle would make the best match for your needs.

You’ve narrowed your personal favorites to the American Lincoln MKX and the BMW X3. Make sure to compare rates with our free quote tool above! 

Since safety is an important factor as well, are you wondering which of these trendy midsize luxury SUVs is safest? If so, let’s look at what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has to say about it.

The Importance of the IIHS Safety Rating

When in the market for a new car, most people don’t make the IIHS safety rating a high priority. Unfortunately, this has proven to be a fatal mistake way too many times to count.

Owning the car or truck of your dreams is important, but you recognize that your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of others on the road are of equal, if not greater, importance.

If you are questioning why a safety rating from the IIHS carries so much weight, bear in mind that their rigid set of testing parameters sets the standard within the industry.

No other organization carries as much weight when assigning a safety rating to a vehicle, and so, this is where insurers turn when seeking to determine the insurability of any given vehicle.

If a car or truck doesn’t measure up well with the IIHS, your safety could be at risk, and you will almost always pay more to insure that automobile.

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A Basic Understanding of IIHS Scores

In all, there are three main areas of focus when testing vehicles. The IIHS looks at Crashworthiness, Crash Avoidance & Mitigation, and Child Seat Anchors.


This particular series of tests determine how safe a vehicle is likely to be in the event of a crash. The Institute looks at:

  • Front – Small and moderate overlap
  • Side
  • Roof Strength
  • Head Restraints & Seats

Crashes are simulated to determine how safe a vehicle would be in the event of a real accident. Scores given by the IIHS are Good (G), Acceptable (A), Marginal (M), and Poor (P).

This year, the Lincoln MKX received a G across the board while the BMW did almost as well. Unfortunately, BMW has done nothing to improve strength in the Small Front Overlap portion of their vehicles, so no grade was given here.

Since the Overlap tests are given priority in this series, Lincoln is obviously the safer choice.

Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

This area of the test examines technology and design that help drivers avoid collisions. Both the Lincoln MKX and the BMW X3 earned 6 points in this area, resulting in a Superior rating for both SUVs.

Possible scores are Superior (S), Advanced (A), and Basic (B).

Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children (LATCH)

Parents with small children are advised to pay close attention to this area of an IIHS rating. Commonly referred to as the LATCH test, this area shows how each manufacturer has designed and instituted car seat tethers.

The IIHS takes into consideration forward-facing tethers as well as rear-facing tethers when rating child seats. Possible grades are the same as those given for the Crashworthiness portion of the test.

Neither vehicle, the Lincoln MKX nor the BMW X3, did particularly well. Both received only a Marginal LATCH safety rating.

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Comparing IIHS Safety Ratings – Lincoln vs. BMW

So, there you have a basic understanding of how the IIHS rates the safety of a vehicle. Automobiles that do exceptionally well make the TOP SAFETY + list, and unfortunately, neither the Lincoln nor the BMW was given this honor in 2017.

The Lincoln MKX did receive the next highest honor, the TOP SAFETY award, but there are safer vehicles on the market you may wish to consider.

Is there a safer choice in luxury SUVs?

Sports Utility Vehicles are, by design, meant to be roadworthy on a wide assortment of terrains. However, that cannot be a blanket statement.

Some are heavier than others, while some have additional shock absorbing capabilities and technologies designed to take preventative measures in Crash Avoidance & Mitigation.

As mentioned, neither manufacturer had an offering with the highest TOP SAFETY + award, so you may just want to look at a midsize luxury SUV that did receive that honor.

This year, midsize luxury SUVs on the top of the safety list include, in order of ranking:

  1. Mercedes-Benz GLC
  2. Lexus RS
  3. Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  4. Acura MDX
  5. Volvo XC60
  6. Acura RDX
  7. Buick Envision
  8. Lexus NX

Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Acura all had models on the top safety list, so those may be better choices than Lincoln or BMW. Even higher priced vehicles can cost less to insure if they are found to be safer by the IIHS.

When choosing any vehicle, safety should always be one of your main considerations.

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One Final Thought

It always helps to remember that insurance companies look at safety when assessing rates for coverage. A vehicle with WOW appeal is great, but one that offers maximum protection and cheaper insurance rates is even better.

Knowing this, which would you choose? Compare rates with our free quote tool below! 

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