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

Things to remember...

  • Large SUVs are capable of transporting half-a-dozen people while having enough room to fit everyone’s belongings
  • The shortcoming to this sheer size is an unreliable safety that can be a problem for families
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a company working to preserve millions of lives, provides qualified opinions derived from extensive testing of these SUVs’ safety capacities
  • To fully comprehend what is meant by safety and how the IIHS operates, an objective comparison between two large SUVs is needed
  • Chevy and GMC are both astronomically large companies that specialize in vehicle manufacturing

As families keep modernizing and thriving in a world where capital can be exchanged for anything, it is safe to presume how the market for vehicles will never go out of business.

As with anything else, however, it would be a far-reaching statement to declare SUVs a perfect car invention. The size does have its clear benefits, but it is also a safety trade-off.

Driving something that has a push-force of over 25,000 pounds might seem wonderful in theory. In common practice, however, drivers have found themselves fall victim to lack of education in the proper maneuvering of SUVs many times.

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Table of Contents

The First Line of Defense: The IIHS

Since most people are unable to truly verify the safety features of a vehicle before purchasing it, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) does this for them. It is a company made by a couple of extravagant insurance conglomerates over half-a-century ago.

Nowadays, they push all the vehicles they review to their limits, completely destroying cars in the process so that errors in manufacturing can be pinpointed. The review has three main tests:

  • Crashworthiness, or how well a car handles a collision.
  • Crash Avoidance, or can a car prevent an accident from happening.
  • Child Seat Anchors, or the latches that connect children’s equipment.

Chevrolet Versus GMC

To make sure comparable companies are considered, Chevy and GMC seem like an apparent choice. The two large SUV models from 2017 that these companies created are Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia Limited.


To quantify data based on an actual crash with a wall, the IIHS places a human-like dummy behind the wheel. When the accident occurs, the doll will report the extent of its injuries through sensors that monitor the entire situation.

Grades for the test can be poor, moderate, acceptable, and good. For both, Acadia and Traverse, four out of five categories were rated “good.” Both brands lacked the results of the small overlap front test which means that the evaluation was not completed.

Regardless, by obtaining a good rating in these categories, these individuals have proven worthy of their high-leadership position in the industry.

The roof testing for both uncovered a four strength-to-weight ratio, meaning that it barely met the threshold to be classified as good. Overall, there were no material discrepancies thus far.

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Crash Prevention and Mitigation

Maintaining the minimum margin occurs once more as both brands get the same score for this test. The grading scale is labeled basic, advanced, and superior.

Traverse and Acadia both gained one-out-of-six points for this test as they had no real prevention features besides the collision alert.

The growing need for an auto brake was not taken into account by these companies, which meant that vehicles had no way to reduce their speed automatically.

Child Seat Anchors or LATCH

The last category of the test is the only one where observers can see Chevy and GMC truly compete. The ratings reflect those in crashworthiness and one could give a slight competitive advantage to Chevy with its “acceptable” endeavors.

GMC’s model accomplished a “moderate” performance within the test since there were issues with the positions of the latches. The anchors seemed to be too deep within the seat while some of them required a large force to be used.

Ultimately, both brands could have performed better in this test, as well as anyone of the two previous assessments.

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

Unfortunately, no competitor won either one of these two awards. This is because the crashworthiness test was incomplete for both brands and crash prevention was not up to par on GMC’s end.

The vehicles with all five “good” crashworthiness categories and a superior crash prevention system achieve a Top Safety Pick, something these two vehicles never came close to. Hence, there is a large area for improvement.

Since both models performed equally in two-out-of-three tests, it is extremely difficult to place one above the other based on LATCH test only. That is why one may find it impossible to declare a truthful winner here. 

If it was absolutely necessary, however, it could be Chevrolet Traverse, a vehicle that outperformed GMC Acadia Limited by such as small margin that it may as well be non-existent.

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  1. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/about-us
  2. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/crash-testing-and-crashworthiness/topicoverview
  3. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/front-crash-prevention-tests
  4. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/LATCH-evaluation
  5. http://www.chevrolet.com/
  6. http://www.gmc.com/
  7. http://www.chevrolet.com/suvs/traverse-mid-size-suv
  8. http://www.gmc.com/suvs/acadia-limited-mid-size-suv.html
  9. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/chevrolet/traverse-4-door-suv/2017?print-view
  10. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/gmc/acadia-limited-4-door-suv/2017?print-view

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