The safest luxury SUV in 2016

Luxury SUV safety

The scent of leather, the texture of wood, the gleam of chrome. Who doesn’t love a luxury SUV? But finding the safest luxury SUV of 2016 can be a bit of a minefield.

After all, there were plenty of luxury SUVs on the market in 2016, so unless you go through all the crash test records across from both EuroNCAP, ANCAP, NHTSA, and IIHS, it’s going to be difficult to work out which one was safest.

Safety also means different things to different people. In some cases, people want to know whether it will keep them safe in a head-on collision. Or that it’s going to prevent them from sliding out on a snowy highway. Some people even want to know whether it will protect them if they don’t wear a seatbelt. Yes, seriously.

Thankfully, here at SUV Authority, we’ve done the hard work for you. What we’ve done below is gone through the crash test data as well as the organisations’ publications to determine the safest luxury SUV that was released in 2016.

Some vehicles, like the Volvo XC60, which came out in 2017, are actually rated higher – in fact the XC60 is currently the highest rated SUV ever to have gone on sale – but this article deals with 2016 specifically. We’ll also do a series of articles on other years later on.

2016 Volvo XC90 SUV cabin

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a good starting point. According to the IIHS Top Safety Pick data for 2016, the safest luxury SUVs were:

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Audi Q5
  • Buick Envision
  • Cadillac XT5 (2017 model year)
  • Infiniti QX60
  • Lexus NX
  • Lexus RX
  • Lincoln MKX
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC90
  • Audi Q7

But this only tells half the story. The IIHS website says that to qualify for the Top Safety Pick Plus, the SUVs had to receive good crash ratings in five different tests, and “an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.”

Looking through the scores, you can’t compare the way IIHS awards points with the points awarded by other safety testing organisations, such as ANCAP, ASEANCAP and EuroNCAP. The IIHS method is to simply using a system of four levels – Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor. As such, there’s no real way to determine how much safer one luxury SUV is over another.

In this case, we have to turn to a more measurable approach – the EuroNCAP safety rating system.

2016 Volvo XC90 SUV interior

EuroNCAP does a very thorough job when testing its vehicles and rates the various categories as percentages, so you can actually see which vehicle scored the highest percentage.

The top three vehicles in terms of percentages were the 2016 Audi Q7, the 2016 Volvo XC90 and the 2016 Lexus RX.

But look at the individual scores across the four main categories (Adult Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Pedestrian Protection, and Safety Assist) and only one luxury SUV comes out on top for 2016.

Volvo XC90 2017

The safest luxury SUV in 2016

The 2016 Volvo XC90.

Across those four categories, the 2016 Volvo XC90 scored highly, outshining its rivals, especially in both the adult occupant and safety assist scores.

The actual testing of the XC90 was carried out in 2015, however the safety scores are still applicable, and no other SUV had come close to topping the XC90 in 2016. The next year, in 2017, the XC60 actually became the safest SUV, but in 2016, you couldn’t do any better than buying an XC90 for safety.

Of course, its build quality is impeccable and being a seven-seat SUV is a bonus. It also drives beautifully, and depending on the country you’re in, there is a range of petrol and diesel models.

Have a look at the European New Car Assessment Program’s (EuroNCAP), video of the crash test below, which shows just how well the 2016 Volvo XC90 performed.

EuroNCAP Scores

Adult Occupant – 97%
Child Occupant – 87%
Pedestrian – 72%
Safety Assist – 100%

A few notes for clarification from the test. The tested XC90 was actually a 2015 model, and was a XC90 D5 ‘Momentum’ trim level in left-hand-drive.

As we noted in a previous article, during the crash test, part of the curtain airbag didn’t deploy correctly, but Volvo fixed the issue with a new trim panel which allowed for full protection of all three rows. EuroNCAP was satisfied that this fixed the issue so there was no need for a retest and the car passed its expected inflation rates for the airbag.

The passenger cell remained stable in the frontal offset test, with crash-test-dummy readings indicating a good protection of the legs of both the driver and passenger.

Autonomous emergency braking is standard and operates from lower speeds, such as city driving – this is when many whiplash injuries happen. The AEB system scored maximum points in EuroNCAP’s tests, braking the car before a collision at all test speeds.

If you want the safest luxury SUV from 2016, the Volvo XC90 is the vehicle to go for.

About Karl Peskett 435 Articles
A passionate writer, editor and driver, Karl is the go-to man when it comes to four wheels. With stints in television, radio, print and online, Karl has been writing about cars for more than a decade. He drives around 100 vehicles every year and has tested everything from Bugattis to Suzukis. Sometimes on track, sometimes off-road, his focus is on producing objective journalism without fear or favour.

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