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

The IIHS gave Volkswagen and GMC large SUV's similar safety ratings in recent tests. The rate of auto insurance is around 18% higher for luxury SUV's.

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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: Oct 26, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • When debating which large SUV to buy, reviewing the safety results published by the IIHS is a smart idea
  • The Volkswagen large SUV in 2017 rated higher in several IIHS safety categories than the GMC Acadia Limited rated
  • While the Volkswagen and GMC SUV models have excellent features and style, the IIHC has not rated them in all safety areas

When you cruise along open roads in your large SUV, it is easy to feel perfectly safe and secure, but many drivers are unfortunately lulled into a false sense of security because of the dominating size of their SUV on the road.

In reality, some large SUVs are considerably safer to drive than others, and this could potentially impact your well-being.

If you are in the market to buy a new SUV soon, spend time exploring the safety reviews prepared by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Data Loss Institute (IIHS).

The IIHS is committed to the goal of improving safety on the road.

Through its many years spent reviewing the safety features and capabilities for a full range of vehicles, automobile manufacturers have been able to dramatically improve your safe driving experience in many different makes and models.

However, because there are still incredible discrepancies between various makes and models, reviewing the IIHS safety test results is a smart idea. In fact, some buyers may base a large part of their buying decision on the IIHS safety test results.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the best rate on the coverage you need.

A Comparison of Safety Ratings between the Volkswagen and GMC Large SUVs


Both Volkswagen and GMC have popular large SUV models, and these are the Touareg and the Acadia Limited, respectively. These are only two of the five large SUVs rated by the IIHS.

You should read about safety ratings so you can ask the right questions, find the best information available, and ultimately make the most informed decision.

IIHS analyzes the safety of a specific make and model through three large categories, and these categories are broken down into eight smaller sections. The vehicles were rated in these sections with grades that range from “basic” to “superior” or from “poor” to “good.”

While you may think that most modern vehicles would rank relatively well in all of these areas, you may be surprised to learn that several fall well short of receiving a good mark.


Crashworthiness features five smaller sections and explores how well a specific SUV may protect its passengers from harm in a collision scenario.

Both the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg and the 2017 GMC Acadia Limited share the same ratings in the area of Crashworthiness. Neither were reviewed for the Front Small Overlap category.

They both received a “good” rating in other categories, such as:

  • Front Medium Overlap
  • Head Restraints and Seats
  • Side
  • Roof Strength


Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation has two important smaller sections, and this category examines a vehicle’s capability for avoiding accidents or reducing the damage they cause. Neither of these two vehicles was rated in the area of Headlights.

The Acadia received a “basic” rating for Front Crash Prevention, and the Touareg received an “advanced” rating in this area.

LATCH for Child Seat Anchors

LATCH is the last of the three large categories reviewed by IIHS, and this is a single safety section that explores child safety anchor latches in greater detail.

Remember that their ease of use can impact how effectively the car seats are anchored to your vehicle. This category is most relevant to SUV buyers who plan to drive with children in the car.

Unfortunately, the Touareg was not rated in this category, and the Acadia had a “marginal” rate issued for this category.

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


The IIHS recognizes vehicles that excel in most or all safety areas reviewed with special honor. Neither the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg nor the 2017 GMC Acadia Limited earned this recognition.

These honors recognize vehicles that rate well in all five of the Crashworthiness tests as well as a few other key safety areas that are analyzed by the IIHS.

Determining If Volkswagen Is Safer Than GMC in 2017

While safety may be at the forefront of your mind when shopping for a new large SUV, you may be wondering if the Touareg or the Acadia Limited are better options.

These are popular models that each distinctive style and innovative features, and they are the only models from these two automakers that were reviewed for the large SUV vehicle class.

Because both of these vehicles were not rated in several areas, it is difficult to accurately determine which is the safest vehicle to buy. However, the Volkswagen model has a better safety rating in the Front Crash Prevention category.

While you are comparing these vehicles’ fuel economy rating, features, overall quality, dependability, and more, remember to compare insurance rates for them as well.

Auto insurance rates for large SUVs can vary significantly, and this will be a major factor in your overall automobile expenses throughout the time you own your new SUV.

Comparing online insurance rates for both of these top models could help you to better determine which SUV is best for you to buy. Use our free comparison tool below to get started comparing right now.

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