People usually buy full-size SUVs as a family vehicle. They need the third row for carpool and familial peace during long road trips. So, it stands to reason they’d want the safest option to carry their most precious cargo. But in new testing from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the results for three popular SUVs are surprising, and there is only one clear winner. The safest full-size SUV for 2024 is, hands-down, the Jeep Wagoneer. 

A key pain point for all three SUVs tested is the new moderate front overlap test.

Digging into the crash test

Looking at the Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe and Jeep Wagoneer, the IIHS results point to problems with rear passenger safety as well as effective headlights. In the past year, the organization has increased scrutiny of its rear-seat safety by putting a crash-test dummy in the second row while performing the moderate front overlap test. None of the SUVs tested got a good rating here.

The biggest offender was the Tahoe, which showed a high risk of head or neck injuries along with chest injury risks for these rear passengers. The Chevy SUV got a Poor rating in this test. Both Expedition and Wagoneer got slightly better Marginal ratings in this test due to injuries caused by the seatbelts. 

Want to know what happens to the driver? Well, the Wagoneer is the best of the bunch with only minor intrusions into the cabin and modest risk of injury to the driver’s left foot. Tahoe drivers have “adequate survival space,” but have the risk of substantial lower leg injuries. The Expedition driver would walk away with the most injuries as the structure of that vehicle did not hold up in testing. 

As far as headlights and front crash prevention are concerned, the Tahoe is the loser here as well. It failed the pedestrian test in the dark, which IIHS attributes to its poor headlights. Both Wagoneer and Expedition have Good front crash prevention results, but only Wagoneer has Good or Acceptable headlight ratings on all trims. 

The safest full-size SUV results

The IIHS obviously goes into a lot more detail, and even offers a video showcasing the results. But the clear winner is the Wagoneer, which also gets a 2024 Top Safety Pick award from the organization. The only thing holding it back from the TSP+ award is the Marginal rating it received in the updated moderate front overlap test because of rear-seat passenger safety. 

Full results are as follows:

iihs full size suv crash test ratings

Screen shot of the IIHS full-size SUV crash test ratings.

The bottom line

If you’ve ever watched crash test video footage, it’s eye opening. But it shines a light on safety issues, and ultimately, it forces automakers to produce safer and safer vehicles. It also helps consumers make informed decisions. 

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