Safest 2017 Family Vehicles with Three Rows of Seating
Are safety and seating more than a couple kids your top considerations in selecting a new vehicle? You aren’t alone! The winner for the last two years, the 2014-2016 Acura MDX, is still a contender to retain its title for 2017.
For 2017, the IIHS not only requires a “Good” result in the newer small overlap crash test to qualify for a Top Safety Pick+ rating, but now also requires at least an “Acceptable” headlight rating. The IIHS also demands a front crash prevention system. These systems are not all created equal, some are only basic warnings that no longer qualify for an award, while advanced ones can actually brake in emergency situations and some are more likely to avoid a crash than lesser systems. To earn the “TSP+” award, an auto-brake system with an “Advanced” or “Superior” rating is still required.
The NHTSA ratings remain the same, but they no longer allow consumers to see the five individual crash test results for each vehicle. Instead, you may now only see the overall rating and a composite frontal (driver and passenger tests) and side rating (driver, passenger and rear pole impact tests).
There are plenty of very safe vehicles. Most midsize crossover SUVs and minivans provide excellent protection for occupants, likely better than anything on the road 15 years ago. Side curtain airbags and stability control are now standard features. In addition to frontal crash protection systems, advanced safety features like emergency crash notification, lane departure warning, cross traffic warning and blind spot warning systems are becoming more common on non-luxury models. A lot of very save models just miss the cut! If your car is not on the list, that doesn’t mean it is unsafe! Requirements:
So how do we filter the list of so many family vehicles that have earned safety awards? It’s pretty easy:
- Must qualify as an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2016 or 2017
- Must have an NHTSA 5-star overall rating
- No individual NHTSA crash ratings of 3-stars or less
- Must have at least 6 passenger seats
What vehicles make the cut? At least 10 so far, an improvement from last year as a few more manufacturers have added active front crash protection systems in this segment. Models that lack complete NHTSA testing but may be added to this list later include the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2017 GMC Acadia. As a testament to how safe all these vehicles are for families, with one exception, we recommend all of the the 2017 qualifiers:
- 2014-2017 Acura MDX
- 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
- 2016-2017 Honda Pilot
- 2016-2017 Infiniti QX60*
- 2017 Kia Sorento*
- 2017 Kia Sedona*
- 2014-2017 Mitsubishi Outlander
- 2017 Nissan Pathfinder*
- 2014-2017 Toyota Highlander*
- 2017 Volvo XC90*
*We include some models that qualified or would have qualified for a Top Safety Pick+ award in 2016. They do not meet the IIHS requirements for the 2017 award only due to marginal, poor or untested headlights.
And the Safest 2017 3-row Family Vehicle is: