Midsize luxury SUVs safety ratings: Mercedes-Benz v. Volvo

The IIHS rated Mercedes-Benz and Volvo SUV's "good" in crash-worthiness. The average cost to insure luxury SUV's is around 18% higher than normal 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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 25, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The IIHS reviewed two 2017 Mercedes-Benz vehicles and two Volvo vehicles in the midsize luxury class, and safety test results varied in several areas
  • Each vehicle has different safety features and benefits, which means that some of the vehicles reviewed are generally safer to drive than others
  • Auto insurance providers analyze safety data and other vehicle data on each model before providing you with a premium rate quote

You may feel on top of the world while you cruise around town in comfort and style in your new midsize luxury SUV.

These are elite vehicles that are designed to pamper you with incredible features and benefits, but be aware that they could lull you into feeling safer than you actually are behind the wheel.

Each luxury midsize SUV that you could purchase today has different safety features and ratings that vary in terms of effectiveness.

The safety capabilities of more than a dozen vehicles in this class have been reviewed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute, and the results can show you which models could give you a safer driving experience.

When you are in the market to purchase a high-end vehicle, such as a midsize luxury SUV, you may believe that these vehicles are all designed with the best safety features available.

However, after you compare the IIHS safety ratings for different models, you will see that some vehicles have substantially better scores in various categories than others do.

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Comparing Volvo Midsize Luxury SUVs against Mercedes-Benz Models

The IIHS has reviewed two Volvo models in this class for 2017, and these are the XC60 and the XC90. The two Mercedes-Benz models in the midsize luxury SUV class that were reviewed by this organization are the GLC and the GLE-Class.

As you explore the three primary safety categories created by the IIHS, you will notice that these categories are divided into eight smaller sections. You will find a rating that ranges from “poor” up to “good” for most sections and from “basic” to “superior” for one section.


The IIHS has divided the Crashworthiness safety section into five smaller categories, and these are the following:

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

Together, these five smaller categories examine how well a vehicle can prevent injuries in passengers involved in a car accident.

The four Volvo and Mercedes-Benz vehicles analyzed by the IIHS in this vehicle class ranked “good” in all five areas, and this is the highest possible grade.


Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

When you look at the Crash Avoidance and Mitigation safety category, you will notice that the IIHS broke this group down into the following sub-categories:

  • Headlights
  • Front Crash Prevention

These two sub-categories indicate how well a vehicle can minimize the extent of an accident or even prevent an accident altogether.

The Volvo XC60 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC both generated a “superior” mark for Front Crash Prevention and a “good” rating for the Headlights sub-category.

The GLE-Class and the XC90 also earned a “superior” rating for Front Crash Prevention, but the GLE-Class had an “average” Headlights grade, and the XC90 only earned a “marginal” grade for this sub-category.

LATCH for the Child Seat Anchors


Child safety seats are only fully effective when they are properly installed in your vehicle, and the LATCH category from IIHS examines how easy it is to properly install the car seats into vehicles.

Under this category, the GLE-Class obtained a “good” rating. The GLC and the Volvo XC90 generated an “average” Latch rating, and the XC60 only obtained a “marginal” score.

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

In order to earn the coveted Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ honors from IIHS, these vehicles must rate “good” in all Crashworthiness areas, and they must obtain at least a “superior” and “average” rate in the two Crash Avoidance and Mitigation sections.

The Top Safety Pick+ award has the additional requirement of having an “average” or better Headlights rating.

With this in mind, the Volvo XC90 was a 2017 Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. The other three vehicles analyzed here were honored with the 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award. Six of the vehicles in the midsize luxury SUV group did not receive either one of these awards.

Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Safety Ratings Meaning


Even the most elite or luxurious vehicles on the market today could be involved in car accidents, but strong safety ratings can help you choose the most reliable vehicle for you.

While the two Volvo models had a “marginal” rating in one category each, the two Mercedes-Benz models ranked “average” or better in each section.

As you finalize your buying decision for a midsize luxury SUV, keep in mind that safety levels and ratings can affect how much you pay for auto insurance. Providers analyze safety details as well as the following information to determine your rate:

Because these factors vary from model to model, spend time today requesting online quotes to determine which of your preferred models qualify for better auto insurance rates. Enter your zip code below to compare rates for free today.

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