Heading into 2015, the Toyota Highlander is the only 3-row affordable mid-size SUV has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) rating. The Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, and Nissan Pathfinder do not measure up.
2015 Highlander Top Safety Pick+
For 2015 IIHS toughened its safety standards. Vehicles that earn the highest safety rating in America must now not only do well on the old-school crash tests, but also must rate Acceptable or better on the small frontal overlap crash test. That qualification excludes the Honda Pilot, which in IIHS testing performed poorly. IIHS spokesperson David Zuby said of the Pilot “The Honda Pilot was the worse performing mid-size SUV in this group.”
These qualifications are still not enough to earn the TSP+ rating. For that, a vehicle must also be available with either Advanced or Superior forward crash prevention. The Highlander is, and this is what separates it from the remaining affordable 8-passenger, mid-sized SUVs in the class.
Other Top Safety Pick + Rated Vehicles
There are excellent choices for safety in the premium mid-sized SUV category. The Acura MDX earns the TSP+ rating there for example. The premium compact segment also has TSP+ rated vehicles such as the Lexus X 200t. And finally, in the smaller affordable segment the Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, and Honda CRV are all TSP+ rated. For a complete list of the safest 2015 model year vehicles, please see the IIHS’ list here.