Large SUVs are very popular, but which one is safer?

Safety: Yukon Vs Expedition Vs Tahoe

According to carsalesbase.com, the large SUV segment is, “…the fastest growing mainstream segment in the US with an increase of 11%…”. They are just too practical if you have more than one child, need a lot of cargo space or need to sit 7 or 8 people in relative comfort. What about safety though, does bigger mean better and which one is the safest? The GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe are virtually the same under the skin of base models and both have the 5.3L V8. The only exception to this is the Yukon Denali. Denali’s have the 6.2 liter V8.


Safety ratings

All three vehicles get the full 5 stars for frontal crash and side crash.

The GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe are virtually the same under the skin of base models. So how did they do on crash testing? Not surprising they came out the same with an overall safety rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Their overall rating loses a star because the rollover rating only gets 3 out of 5 stars.

2017 Ford expedition’s, on the other hand, get an overall rating of 5 stars. The large SUV does however still lose a star for the rollover rating.

Safety ratings from NHTSA

A newly designed Ford Expedition is coming and the NHTSA hasn’t published any ratings yet. For 2018 Yukon and Tahoe models, the ratings stay the same. Modern car safety systems such as; Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and automated braking systems are all taken into consideration when the rating is given.³

2017 GMC Yukon safety features

Safety: Yukon Vs Expedition Vs Tahoe
GMC Yukon, Photo: GMC
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking
  • Front and Rear Park Assist
  • Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Available Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Safety Alert Seat

These features come in the mid-trim level Yukon, the SLT. Some of these features (not all) are available as an optional extra on the base model SLE.


Ford Expedition safety features

2017 Ford Expedition
2017 Ford Expedition, Photo: Ford

Ironically, a lot of latest safety features and adaptive cruise control aren’t on the 2017 Ford Expedition but will be available on the newly designed 2018 Ford Expedition. It does have the Safety Canopy® system, which is, side curtain airbags, which, in a rollover, inflate between the occupant’s head and the side window.

Chevrolet Tahoe safety features

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Photo: Chevrolet

The Tahoe gets the Forward Collision Alert system as standard on the mid and highest trim levels, the LT and Premier in 4wd. It’s an optional extra on the base model LS. Automatic Collision Prep package is only available on the highest trim level Premium. This safety package includes Intelligent Brake Assist and Collision Avoidance Braking. Lane Keep Assist, Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking and Safety Alert Seat (vibrating seat) are available as an optional extra on the base model LS but is standard on the LT and Premier trims. OnStar automatic crash response is included for a trial period when purchasing new.

So what’s the conclusion here? Tahoe’s have a lot of advanced safety features available but if you want them you’ll have to shell out to add them to a base model or get at least the mid-trim level LT.

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¹Wozniak, Krzysztof. “US Car Sales Data Large SUV Segment – Left-Lane.com.”Carsalesbase.com, Carsalesbase, 29 July 2017, carsalesbase.com/car-sales-us/car-sales-segments-us/large-suv-segment-us/

²“Ratings.” NHTSA, U.S. Dept of Transportation, 2017, www.nhtsa.gov/ratings.

³Knight, Cheryl. “How Cars Get Safety Tested (How IIHS Safety Works).” YourMechanic Advice, YourMechanic, 2 Sept. 2016.

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