Consumer Reports: How Safe Are Three-Row SUV Passengers in a Crash?

When it comes to car safety, did Consumer Reports find that three-row SUV passengers were safe in the event of a crash? Due to limited data on three-row SUVs, Consumer Reports says this question is still being investigated. What are the ways to keep passengers in the third-row safe?

Consumer Reports investigated the safety of three-row SUV passengers

Consumer Reports questioned the safety of passengers in three-row SUVs
Consumer Reports questioned the safety of passengers in three-row SUVs | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Trucks and SUVs keep getting bigger, which means room for more cargo and passengers. In the case of an accident, are three-row SUV passengers safe in the back row? One of the most significant issues with this question is that there isn’t enough testing to determine the answer.

Consumer Reports’ auto safety engineer Emily Thomas says, “There’s not a lot of real-world crash data for third-row seating.” The focus tends to be on frontal-crash safety and side-impact safety. There isn’t currently a test for impact from behind for those in the third row.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is working on it, though. The company has recently been working on three-row SUV safety testing. For the most part, the testing will show how crash-test dummies perform in the case of a frontal impact. Will the IIHS work on three-row SUV rear-impact safety soon? It should, given the popularity of eight-passenger vehicles.

Three-row SUV passenger safety

If you have older children in the back seat, make sure everyone is properly buckled. Children often slide out of seatbelts or don’t buckle at all. Consumer Reports suggests making sure the seat belt is fitted correctly. This means having the shoulder belt centered across the collarbone and chest while the lap belt is across the hips.

Buyers can always review safety ratings from the IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA has a list of 2021 SUVs that received a five-star safety rating. Not all of these options have three rows, but a few do. Additionally, the list includes SUVs with advanced crash avoidance technology systems. These systems include things like automatic emergency braking, radar, and camera.

Keeping children safe in large SUVs

Consumer Reports suggests there are still ways to make sure your three-row SUV passengers are safe. If you are putting younger children in car seats in the back, ensure the car seats are appropriate for the child’s size and weight. Consumer Reports offers a variety of information for infant, convertible, and booster car seats. There are also all-in-one and toddle booster car seats.

A Child Passenger Safety Technician can help ensure the car seat is installed correctly. Similarly, there are often car seat safety events that can help ensure the car seat is installed correctly. You can locate an event or technician on the Safe Kids website.

So while the testing for three-row SUV passenger safety is not complete yet, there are ways to keep passengers safe. Be sure car seats are properly installed and that all passengers are buckled in correctly. Car safety is improving, and vehicles are safer than ever before, but passengers still need to utilize seat belts.

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