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Is Cadillac’s safety rating for midsize luxury SUVs better than BMW’s?

Things to remember...
  • Not all SUVs have the same safety ratings
  • The IIHS conducts safety tests on midsize luxury SUVs
  • The safest SUVs are awarded either the 2017 Top Safety Pick or the 2017 Top Safety Pick+ awards
  • Purchasing a vehicle that has won a safety award could lower your insurance rates

When it comes to choosing the right SUV for your family, you may think that all SUVs are the same, especially when it comes to safety ratings.

Unfortunately, the large size, plethora of features and comfortable passenger and driver experience may not translate into the safety ratings you’d expect.

Unfortunately, if the safety ratings are low, you could be in for a shock when you insure your new SUV.

Therefore, it is always important to check the vehicle’s safety rating at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) website before making a purchase or leasing a vehicle.

Cars with higher safety ratings may receive lower car insurance quotes. To find out, try using our free comparison tool for your next SUV.

The IIHS compiles real data through detailed scientific studies in order to determine the following:

  • human factors that cause auto accidents
  • which vehicle safety features work
  • which safety features could be improved upon
  • how the vehicle can be improved to reduce crashes and improve crash survivability

Table of Contents

Midsize Luxury SUVs: Cadillac Versus BMW

When it comes to midsize luxury SUVs, two of the most well-known brands are Cadillac and BMW. According to IIHS, the Cadillac XT5 is a 2017 top safety pick while the BMW X3 and X5 are not top safety picks, even though they are in the same class as the Cadillac XT5.

The IIHS assesses five crash factors plus headlights and latch. Depending on how the vehicle fared in each test, it is given one of the following ratings:

  • Good – Highest possible rating, death least likely when compared to vehicles that receive a poor rating.
  • Acceptable – Second highest rating, drivers, and passengers are still decently protected.
  • Marginal – Vehicle barely passed the safety test. Passengers and drivers are still better protected than in a vehicle rated Poor.
  • Poor – Worst possible rating. The vehicle did not perform well on the test.

Cadillac VS. BMW in IIHS Crash Tests

Cadillac and BMW were both put through the IIHS’s crashworthiness and safety tests, and the vehicles did not score the same in spite of being in the same vehicle category.

– Crashworthiness

  • Front with Small Overlap – 40mph crash with 25 percent of the vehicle’s front hitting a barrier.
  • Front with Moderate Overlap – 40mph crash with 40 percent of the vehicle’s front hitting a barrier.
  • Side Crash – 31mph crash that simulates the front of an SUV hitting the side of the vehicle.
  • Roof Strength – Metal plate is used to simulate a rollover accident. It is performed as a strength to weight test with the metal plate being pushed against the side of the vehicle’s roof at a predetermined speed.
  • Head Restraints and Seats – The effectiveness of the head restraints and seats are tested via a sled test.

– Cadillac XT5

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 scored “Good” in all five crashworthiness tests.

This means that Cadillac XT5 drivers and passengers are:

  • 46 percent less likely to suffer a fatal injury from a head-on collision
  • 76 percent less likely to experience a fatal injury in a side impact crash from the left side
  • 24 percent less likely to experience a head or neck injury from the SUVs seat restraint systems

The roof also has a 3.25 strength-to-weight ratio.

– BMW X3

The BMWX3 rated “Good” in the front moderate crash test and the side crash test as well as for the roof strength and head restraints and seat test. The BMWX3 received no rating for the front small overlap test.

– BMW X5

The BMWX5 received no ratings in the front small overlap crash test, the roof strength test and the head restraints and seat test. In the front moderate crash test and the side crash test, the BMWX5 received “Good” ratings.

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Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Crash avoidance and mitigation includes the tests for crash prevention and the ability of the headlights to illuminate straight and curved roads.

  • Front Crash Prevention – The collision warning system (AKA automated braking) is tested at 12mph and 25mph. Vehicles are given ratings of “Basic,” “Advanced,” and “Superior,” with “Basic” being the worst and “Superior” being the best.
  • Headlights – Ability of the headlights to illuminate straight and curved roads. Headlights are given the standard ratings of “Poor,” “Acceptable,” “Marginal,” and “Good.”

– Cadillac XT5

The Cadillac XT5 received a “Superior” rating for its crash prevention system and a “Marginal” rating for its headlights with a note for optional equipment.

– BMW X3

The BMWX3 received a rating of “Superior” for its front crash prevention system and a “Marginal” rating for its headlights with no additional notes.

– BMW X5

The BMW X5 received a “Superior” rating for its crash prevention system and an “Acceptable” rating for its headlights with no additional notes.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

The Child Seat Anchors test (LATCH) determines how easy it is for parents to install car seats into the vehicle.

  • Cadillac XT5 – The Cadillac XT5 received an “Acceptable” for its child seat anchors, which means they are relatively easy to use.
  • BMW X3 – The BMW X3 received a “Marginal” rating for its child seat anchors, which means they are more difficult to use than the anchors in the Cadillac XT5.
  • BMW X5 – The BMW X5 received a “Marginal” rating for its child seat anchors, which means they are the same degree of difficulty to use as the BMW X3 and harder to use than the Cadillac XT5 seat anchors.

2017 Top Safety Pick and 2017 Top Safety Pick+

When it comes to receiving the 2017 Top Safety Pick+, the vehicle must receive “Good” ratings in each of the crashworthiness tests as well as high ratings for headlights and crash prevention.

None of the SUV makes and models met the requirements to receive the 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award. The Cadillac XT5 did receive the 2017 Top Safety Pick award.

In order to qualify, the vehicle must receive “Good” ratings in each of the five crashworthiness tests as well as a rating of Advanced or higher on the crash prevention test.

The BMW X3 did not qualify for either award because the front small overlap test was not rated, and the BMW X5 did not receive a safety award due to not having ratings for front small overlap, roof strength, and head restraints and seats.

Is the Cadillac XT5 safer than the BMW X3 and X5?

The Cadillac XT5 is safer than both the BM3 and BMW5. The Cadillac XT5 earned the 2017 Top Safety Pick Award and had “Good” ratings in all five of the crashworthiness tests.

The SUV also received a “Superior” rating in front crash prevention. The vehicles were rated “Marginal,” and the LATCH received an “Acceptable” rating.

The BMW X3 and X5 are both missing safety ratings in critical areas, which could mean you’d be more at risk for suffering a serious injury in a crash.

These cars may also be more expensive to insure. To get free quotes for your new midsize luxury SUV, you should use our free comparison tool below! 


  1. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/about-us
  2. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/v/class-summary/midsize-luxury-suvs
  3. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/07/iihs-crash-test-ratings-explained.html
  4. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/frontal-crash-tests
  5. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/07/iihs-crash-test-ratings-explained.html/2
  6. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/side-test
  7. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/roof-strength-test
  8. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/07/iihs-crash-test-ratings-explained.html/5
  9. http://www.cadillac.com/preceding-year/xt5-crossover.html
  10. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/07/iihs-crash-test-ratings-explained.html/3
  11. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/07/iihs-crash-test-ratings-explained.html/4
  12. https://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/xmodels/x3.html
  13. https://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/xmodels/x5.html
  14. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/07/iihs-crash-test-ratings-explained.html/6
  15. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/headlight-evaluation
  16. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/LATCH-evaluation

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