Does an SUV protect its occupants better in a crash than a normal car?

This may sound obvious, but they aren't necessarily built so well, and tend to roll and tip more easily - but I am looking for a car that can really protect me in city traffic, a little tank, if you will. I'm mainly concerned with surviving head-on collisions, offset-crashes, and side impacts administered by careening idiots. Is an SUV going to be a good choice?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
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    Interesting question.

    You are right to mention the inherent instability of the SUV. Because of its higher centre of gravity, it is much more likely to roll than other types of car.

    However, tests in the UK have shown that the average SUV comes out better than the average saloon when the two are involved in collisions -particularly in head on collisions. This is due to the higher centre of gravity of the SUV. In practical terms, this means that the SUV tends to ride over the lower vehicle, killing its occupants, whilst preserving those in the SUV.

    As a simple rule of thumb (with exceptions) the larger your vehicle, the safer you are against a smaller vehicle. So if everyone drove the same type of vehicle in the same manner, we would all have an equal chance of survival.

    Footnote: If you drive a tank against a normal car, who is likely to come off best? Is this fair on the driver of the 'normal' vehicle?

    -If legislation ever requires us all to drive the same vehicle, none will be more vulnerable to the person with the larger vehicle. We will all have the same tank and be equally likely to kill each other!

    (Police Driving Instructor)

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  • 1 decade ago

    No it is not. They are heavy so they don't stop as fast and don't respond to turning very well. Their high center of gravity makes them very prone to rollovers. Yes they have more surface area on the sides but that will only help you if you crash into a brick wall. Crashing into a smaller vehicle concentrates the force over a smaller area.

    If you look at the safety ratings of these vehicles they are very poor. Minivans tend to have the highest safety ratings and they are unit body and SUV and trucks have the lowest ratings and they are full frame. I would go with unit body.

    The build quality on many SUVs is also poor since they are such hot sellers and people buy them anyways.

    If you want a car that is a tank, buy a Volvo or a Mercedes Benz. My Volvo is a 1985 740 that was involved in a frontal collision and I couldn't tell by looking at it or driving it other than the bad paint job. I had a Jeep Cherokee that I rammed into a Mercedes Benz S-class; the paint was scratched on the Mercedes, the bumper and grille was pushed back and crumpled on the Jeep.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If it's between a car and an suv, the suv will probably fair better simple because it will probably be higher up then the car.

    If it's between an suv and a transport truck, well sorry, nothing's gonna help you there.

    I think the toughest cars out there are the volvo's or mercedes, but not many of us can afford those.

    If you're that concerned about collisions then my only advice would be to not buy a newer model car. Most of us will experience at least one accident in our lifetimes (give or take a few, there's a lot of people not paying attention out there), so why pay a ton of insurance in the mean time????

    Drive safe!

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  • 1 decade ago

    well, i remember seeing some tests done on TV where some SUV made crash with a sedan.

    the results were not conclusive to say SUV will protect you better.

    Dont forget , having wider surface means, more area for impact.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Look for the SUV's with a full frame, most cars have a uni-body frame and are not as structurly sound as the full frames. That being said the full frames are heavier and have a rougher ride.

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