Here are 11 posh people movers that not only get top marks in crash tests, but are able to help the driver avoid getting into a crash in the first place.
When Land Rover first brought the Range Rover to U.S. shores in 1987, the idea of a luxury sport-utility vehicle was almost unheard of at a time when sales among what were then rough-and tumble-trucks were largely limited to contractors and the outdoorsy. Today they’re ubiquitous among upscale households, with so-called crossover models dominating the market for their car-like ride and handling abilities, available all-wheel-drive systems, and spacious family friendly interiors.
Those looking for the safest models in this class should not only pay attention to crash test ratings that grade occupant protection, but also those with advanced safety systems that can help drivers avoid getting into a wreck in the first place. To that end, we’ve isolated 11 luxury-branded SUVs that not only garnered perfect scores in each of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s demanding crash tests (including the more-challenging small forward offset test that replicates the effect of smashing into a tree or light pole), but received the top “Superior” rating when fitted with the vehicles’ forward auto-braking systems. This means they’re able to avoid, or at least reduce the effects of a crash, based on two separate tests conducted at 12 and 25 mph. (Though be aware that the IIHS does not test the costliest and/or low-volume models on the market.)
Though prices of luxury SUVs can well exceed six figures at the top of the range, only a few models in this class include high-speed forward auto-braking as standard equipment. More often than not it remains optional, and is most often limited to select trim levels and offered as part of equipment packages that contain other top-shelf features. Thus, we’re noting where and how forward auto-braking is available, and the minimum out-the-door cost (including the destination charge) when the vehicle is so equipped.
1. Acura MDX
The automaker’s Collision Mitigation Braking System comes standard across the line of this roomy and capable three-row crossover SUV; price as equipped $45,025.
2. Acura RDX
Like its larger showroom sibling, the compact RDX crossover SUV offers the above Collision Mitigation Braking System, as part of either the vehicle’s available AcuraWatch Plus or Advance packages; price as equipped $37,945.
3. Audi Q7
Audi’s pre-sense city forward auto-braking system comes standard on this handsomely cast and technologically advanced Q7 crossover SUV; the high-speed Audi PreSense Plus auto-braking system is optional as part of the Driver Assistance package on Premium Plus and Prestige versions; price as equipped $56,350.
4. Cadillac XT5
Both high-speed and low-speed Front Automatic braking systems are offered as part of the midsize XT5 crossover SUV’s Driver Awareness Package on the Luxury trim level, and the Driver Assist Package on Premium Luxury and Platinum models; price as equipped $47,060.
The stylish midsize QX60’s optional Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection system is available as part of the optional Deluxe Technology Package; price as equipped $56,095.
6. Lexus RX
Lexus’ Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection system comes standard on this popular midsize luxury crossover SUV.
7. Lincoln MKX
Lincoln’s luxurious midsize crossover SUV offers the Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Protection system on the Reserve and Black Label trim levels as part of the optional Driver Assistance Package; price as equipped $49,355.
Mercedes’ Collision Prevention Assist Plus system comes standard on this upscale compact crossover, with the Pre-Safe Brake with Pedestrian Recognition optional for added safety and offered as part of the Premium 3 Package; price as equipped $40,145.
Active Braking Assist comes standard on this family friendly midsize crossover SUV, with the Driving Assistance Plus package further including the Pre-Safe Brake with Pedestrian Recognition system; price as equipped $52,995.
10. Volvo XC60
Volvo’s low-speed City Safety system is standard on the midsize XC60 crossover, and it’s able to detect the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as cars in its path. Meanwhile, the high-speed Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection is optional as part of the Advanced Package, which is available on the Dynamic and Inscription trim levels, and it comes standard with the top R-Design model; price as equipped $46,095.
11. Volvo XC90
The aforementioned low-speed City Safety forward auto-braking system comes standard with this large and luxurious three-row XC90, and it goes so far as to be able to brake to avoid hitting large animals like deer and elk as they cross the road; price as equipped $46,745.