Trucks & SUVs

Avoid These 5 Family SUVs That Don’t Put Safety First

Vehicles are safer than ever, and the newest 2021 family SUVs are loaded with smart safety systems. 

Chief among these cutting-edge driver-assistance technologies are front crash prevention features. These include automatic emergency braking (AEB), pedestrian detection, and forward-collision warning (FCW).

Many 2021 SUVs come standard with most of these systems, which help alert the driver of an imminent crash and mitigate damage. However, there are a few outliers. Without further ado, here are some of the family SUVs that don’t come standard with these vital safety features.

2021 Dodge Durango

In many ways, Dodge’s midsize SUV is a muscle car on stilts. Its aggressive design and robust engine options give it an attitude that other safer family SUVs lack.

However, the 2021 Dodge Durango is all talk and no bark – at least at its base trim. A rearview camera is the only standard driver-assist technology on this burly SUV. Dodge doesn’t include FCW and AEB until the upscale Citadel trim level, which has a starting MSRP of $47,805. Meanwhile, Dodge doesn’t offer pedestrian detection on any Durango model.

Notably, these front crash prevention systems are absent on the Durango’s high-octane SRT and SRT Hellcat models. However, few people are buying these track-ready SUVs to bring their kids to soccer practice.

Nevertheless, the 2021 Dodge Durango’s unique personality helps make it a popular choice among consumers. Even its lack of safety standard features didn’t stop this mean machine from becoming Texas’ favorite SUV of 2021.

2021 Buick Enclave

A red 2020 Buick Enclave with a bike attatched to the rear hatch
A 2020 Buick Enclave in action | Photo via General Motors

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The Enclave is a small step up from the Durango in terms of safety technologies. But it’s still not exactly a safe family SUV.

This three-row SUV features rear parking sensors in addition to a rearview camera. However, its overall package is still disappointing, as it lacks any front crash prevention systems.

Shoppers may think the second-lowest trim, the Essence, has an impressive assortment of safety features. It includes lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Plus, you can add a rear camera mirror and a surround-view parking camera via packages.

However, buyers won’t have access to FWC, AEB, and pedestrian detection until they reach the Premium trim level. This upscale version of the 2021 Buick Enclave has a starting MSRP of $49,595, putting it out of many shoppers’ price range.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Adventure comes easy to Jeep’s family SUV. The same can’t be said about safety.

Thankfully, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with more standard tech than the Durango or Enclave. Its base model features blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rearview camera.

However, subpar IIHS results offset this advantage. The Grand Cherokee earned a “marginal” rating in the organization’s driver’s side small overlap front crash test. Plus, the IIHS gave it an even worse score of “poor” in the same test for the passenger’s side.

You’ll likely want some extra protection from your family after analyzing these results. Unfortunately, Jeep forces you to add an optional package to equip FCW and AEB to your 2021 Grand Cherokee. And like the 2021 Dodge Durango, pedestrian detection isn’t an option on this midsize SUV.

2021 Chevy Blazer

A red 2021 Chevrolet Blazer family SUV safely driving down a city road
The 2021 Chevy Blazer in action | Photo via Chevrolet

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Chevrolet’s midsize SUV has an edgy design that’s bound to attract attention. However, its standard safety offerings will disappoint some shoppers, despite upgrades for the 2021 model year.

The 2021 Chevy Blazer’s base model is equipped with a rearview camera and a Teen Driver system. While these features help promote safe driving habits, they don’t assist the driver in the event of a potential collision.

If you’re looking to upgrade into this stylish and safe family SUV, you’ll want to opt for the 2LT trim. Starting at $34,295, this model comes with FCW, AEB, and pedestrian detection. Plus, it features lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning.

Notably, Chevrolet offers an optional enhanced automatic emergency braking system on the Blazer’s higher trims.

2021 Chevy Traverse / 2021 GMC Acadia

A white 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 parked on a dirt trail
The 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 on display | Photo via General Motors

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The Traverse and Acadia are virtually twins, as both models share the same underpinnings. Thus, it’s not a surprise that these three-row SUVs have the same shortcoming.

The 2021 Chevy Traverse and 2021 GMC Acadia feature an assortment of smart safety systems. A rearview camera, rear-seat reminder, and a Teen Driver system come standard on both vehicles.

Meanwhile, GMC equipped the Acadia with blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert. The entry-level Traverse isn’t as advanced, as it lacks these systems. Instead, it has a buckle-up reminder feature.

However, these models still aren’t the safest family SUVs due to a lack of front crash prevention systems. Thankfully, General Motors made these features available on some mid-tier trim levels.

Shoppers can add FCW, AEB, and pedestrian detection via optional packages on the Traverse LT Cloth and the Acadia SLT. Meanwhile, General Motors makes these features standard equipment on the 2021 Chevy Traverse RS and the 2021 GMC Acadia AT4.