Picking the Safest 2020 Midsize SUV Might Be Harder Than You Think

The versatility, utility, and the spaciousness of midsize crossover SUVs make them the go-to choice for numerous buyers. These SUVs are often as comfortable as sedans and are loaded with just as much tech or more. Standard or optional all-wheel drive on these vehicles makes them roadworthy in all weather.

But when it comes to safety, not all midsize SUVs are created equal. How do you even begin to find the ones with the highest safety ratings? U.S. News has done the work for you. Here is an overview of U.S. News’ safest midsize SUVs for 2020 and a closer look at the ones with the highest ratings. 

How U.S. News compiled the list

15 midsize SUVs made U.S. News’ list. They are two- and three-row vehicles that range in price from the mid-$20,000s to the mid-$30,000s. U.S. News assigned both a safety score and an overall score for each SUV. 

Factors in determining the safety scores included how well the SUV did in the crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Reviewers also considered the standard and optional driver assistance safety features.

The runners-up for U.S. News’ safest SUV

We’d totally understand if buyers become overwhelmed by trying to winnow out the best candidates among the 15 SUVs. But to simplify the decision process, we’ve chosen the three that won impressive safety scores of 9.8 out of 10 to review. 

The first runner-up is the five-passenger 2020 Ford Edge. Its standard energetic turbocharged four-cylinder engine yields a respectable 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. It received an overall score of 7.7 out of 10. The starting price for the Ford Edge is $31,100.

The Edge boasts a full complement of collision avoidance systems that come standard. They include forward automatic braking, lane departure warning and intervention, and blind-spot detection. The NHTSA gave this SUV five-star scores for passenger protection in frontal- and side-impact crashes. The IIHS has designated it a Top Safety Pick if equipped with the optional LED headlights.

The 2020 Subaru Ascent also earned a safety score of 9.8 out of 10 and an overall score of 7.7 out of 10. It’s a comfortable crossover SUV that offers a generous cargo area and standard all-wheel drive. Pricing for the Ascent begins at $31,995.

The third runner-up, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade, is a new entry to the list. Its attractive profile, smooth ride, and ample cargo space contribute to its overall score of 8.4 out of 10. Its starting price is $31,775.

Advanced safety features are solidly represented on the Palisade. Forward automatic emergency braking and lane departure and intervention systems are standard, with an available blind-spot warning. The NHTSA gave the Hyundai a five-star overall rating. Like the other runners-up, it is an IIHS Top Safety Picks when buyers choose the optional LED headlights that were rated as “good.”

The SUV with the highest safety score


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U.S. News gives the 2020 Toyota Highlander a perfect 10 out of 10 for safety. Its overall score is 7.6 out of 10. The three-row SUV has undergone a complete redesign for this year. And like most Toyota models, it offers a quiet ride, a well-designed interior, and a standard V6 that provides a slightly better-than-average fuel economy. The Highlander starts at $34,600.

The secret behind the Highlander’s sterling score is its standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a bundle of driver assistance systems. They include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, road sign assist, and lane tracing assist.

The NHTSA has yet to test the Highlander, but the IIHS has named certain upper trim levels with available LED headlights as Top Safety Picks. The Toyota SUV also earned a “good” rating in IIHS’ crash test scores.