Best Crash Test SUV

The best crash test SUV according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the Cadillac Escalade.

Escalade was GM’s first foray into the luxury SUV market under the Cadillac nameplate. The model is now in it’s third generation and is a very successful seller for General Motors. Part of the vehicle’s appeal is the youthful and flashy image it exudes.

The Cadillac Escalade has been and still is the best selling luxury sport utility vehicle. While styling, power and drivability are certainly factors in its popularity, many buyers also cite the vehicle’s safety and best crash test SUV ratings as reasons for purchase.

One way to rate a vehicle’s safety is to judge its drivability and ease of handling. After all, the safest vehicles are those not involved in crashes. The Escalade has a stiffened, fully boxed frame and coil spring front suspension, which provides for friendlier and more controlled handling.

Nimble might not be an accurate description of the Escalade’s handling, but the rack and pinion steering does make it very easy to handle and maneuver for a vehicle of its size.

The Escalde’s safety can also be judge by crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA tests numerous vehicles every year and publishes a variety of safety results including frontal crash ratings, side impact ratings and rollover resistance ratings.

Automakers often promote high scores as sales and marketing tools for the vehicles that score well. It is important however, that the consumer understand what these scores mean.

Frontal crash tests performed by the NHTSA are conducted at 35 mph into a fixed object or barrier. Two crash test dummies are placed in the front seats and the impact force is measured. The NHTSA then gives the vehicle a star rating based on the probability of injury based on percentages.
46% or higher chance of injury 1 star
36% – 45% chance of injury 2 stars
21% – 35% chance of injury 3 stars
11% – 20% chance of injury 4 stars
0 – 10% cane of injury 5 stars
As you can see, more stars equate to a safer vehicle.

Side crash tests are conducted in nearly the same manner as frontal crash tests with slightly different scoring criteria.
26% or greater chance of injury 1 star
21% – 25% chance of injury 2 stars
11% – 20% chance of injury 3 stars
6% – 10% chance of injury 4 stars
5% or less chance of injury 5 stars
Once again, more stars mean less chance of injury in a crash.

Rollover ratings are conducted by the NHTSA to determine the likelihood of a vehicle flipping over during an emergency or sudden maneuver like a drastic lane change or a violent steering movement to avoid another vehicle. Again, they use test results to assign a star rating.
41% or greater risk of rollover 1 star
31% – 40% risk of rollover 2 stars
21% – 30% risk of rollover 3 stars
11% – 20% risk of rollover 4 stars
10% or less risk of rollover 5 stars

Now that we know safer vehicles will be rated with more stars, how will the Cadillac Escalade score? According to the NHTSA results for the year 2009, Escalade scored 5 stars for frontal impact crashes, 5 stars for side impact crashes and 3 stars on the rollover test.

These scores combined to make the Cadillac Escalade the safest vehicle in the luxury SUV market according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

One Response to “Best Crash Test SUV”

  1. […] full size SUV has been a favorite amongst SUV purchasers for several years. Introduced to the public in 1992, the […]

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