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

The IIHS gave Volkswagen and Chevy large SUV's an "acceptable" rating in recent tests. Auto insurance costs average around 18% higher for many luxury SUV models.

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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 18, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Ranging anywhere from $30,000 to over $250,000, Large SUVs are made for any layer of the society that is in need of a sizeable vehicle to transport their family
  • To ensure that the purchase fits the high standards of vehicle security, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzes all aspects that contribute to maintaining a reasonable survival environment for drivers and passengers
  • Depicting what the IIHS does might be difficult through dry definitions which is why comparing the safety performance of vehicles such as Volkswagen Touareg and Chevrolet Traverse will paint a better picture

An SUV, or a Sport Utility Vehicle, better known as a family car, is characterized by its high center of gravity, all-wheel drive, and most of the models have off-roading capabilities.

Due to sheer weight, they tend to fall into the same category as trucks and minivans, but they can be looked at as the best of both worlds.

The origin of the SUVs goes back to World War II when one of the most reliable manufacturers, Jeep, produced military-grade wagons to be eligible for large loads and multiple men.

Nowadays, the purpose has shifted to more commercial-based markets where middle-to-high-class families are the primary buyers.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best deal for the coverage you need. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool above to begin.

Volkswagen Touareg Versus Buick Enclave


Established in 1959, the IIHS is designed as a nonprofit organization with the sole purpose of quantifying the safety features of the latest, high-profile offsprings of many brands.

It operates a vehicle research center in Virginia that was opened in 1992, which is where the crash tests are performed.

These tests evaluate vehicles for:

  • crashworthiness
  • crash prevention

The three categories are reviewed through real-life-like collisions and visual observation. Crashworthiness and child anchors are graded with good, acceptable, moderate, and poor ratings, while the crash prevention systems can be basic, advanced, or superior.


There are five tests that both of these models went through:

  • Frontal Moderate Overlap Crash
  • Frontal Small Overlap Crash
  • Side Crash
  • Roof’s Strength-to-Weight Ratio
  • Head and Neck Restraints

The small overlap front test, however, was not done for either of the models as there were no reported scores, while the other categories were all rated “good.”

Unfortunately, the lack of the first sub-test makes it impossible to review what type of survival space is maintained with these vehicles.

Volkswagen won the roof’s strength-to-weight ratio with a slight margin of 0.72 as Chevy barely made the highest level with a score of 4.0, while the Touareg got a 4.72.

The rest of these tests do not indicate any great disconnect between the performance of either vehicle and it is nearly impossible to declare a winner thus far.


Crash Prevention & Mitigation

The next test also has a few parts to it, although it is nowhere near as lengthy as crashworthiness. The accident avoidance is quantified by conducting a test of forward-collision warning worth one point, a 12-mph test worth 2 points, and a 25-mph test worth three points.

Also, headlights scores are included in this category.

The models reviewed here both failed to get the superior rating, with Touareg getting the advanced score and Traverse getting the basic.

Traverse only received a point for having a danger alert, while the Touareg went a little above and auto-reduced the speed in the 12-mph test by 10 mph. The 25-mph test was failed by both models and a collision was not avoided.

Thus, Volkswagen won the category with a decent margin of two points.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

To tie its loss in the previous category, Chevy had an “acceptable” rating in the latch area. The only shortcoming was the fact that two rear child anchors were too deep in the seat. Volkswagen was not rated here and there is no way to determine its latches’ accessibility.

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


To receive either of these awards the first requirement is to have all five good scores in the crashworthiness area, something that both models failed to do. Thus, neither one was recognized as the Top Safety Pick/Plus.

The only model out of the Large SUV category that scored one of these recognitions was Audi Q7, which had perfect crashworthiness performance, superior crash prevention abilities, and a good plus rating for its latches.

Although it is moderately difficult to declare a winner since both vehicles have so much to work on, one could say that the Volkswagen Touareg outdid Chevrolet Traverse.

Minor differences such as the crash prevention two-point win is what can be a life-saving factor during a crash.

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