Safest slightly used SUV?

Am presently driving Volvo XC90, which I LOVE, but lease is running out. Hubby drives Land Rover LR3, wants me to drive same. LR is too flashy for me. Need extremely safe, fairly large SUV with good off-road capabilities; would like used one to save money on monthly payments. Safety is paramount. Any recommendations appreciated.

If saftey is paramount, the Volvo XC90 is going to be hard to beat.
The Ford Flex and Ford Taurus X wagon/crossover also share the the same platform as the XC90.

You may have the option purchase the vehicle you have, check it out with the dealer! It is not a LR…

SUVs are not particularly safe because of their high center of gravity and tendency to tip over at high speed emergency moves. Ford supplies a separate booklet with their SUVs (Explorer) and trucks that tells in great detail why those vehicles do NOT BEHAVE like normal cars and the care needed while driving, such as no high speed quick lane changes!

Your husband’s Land Rover may be good off road, but it is a scary vehicle to drive at high speed on crowded expressways. On a cross-country highway trip it would be one of the last vehicles I would chose. It’s also very expensive to maintain and repair.

You have not stated what you do off-road, do you go to the mountains or do you have a ranch? For what most people need, a vehicle like the Subaruy Legacy Outback has superb all wheel drive and is stable enough at highway speed to feel secure with. It, and a Ford Flex AWD (car-based)are good affordable vehicles for allround use.

The Subaru Outback will handle most like your Volvo but less expensive to buy and maintain. We belong to mountain hiking and sking club and there are a dozen members with Outbacks. No one has a Land Rover or wants one.

The primary safety problem with SUVs is rollover and different models vary substantially in their propensity to roll. A lot may depend on what you mean by “good off-road capabilities”. If you just need to be able to handle dirt/gravel roads and a few inches of snow, a vehicle with a fairly low center of gravity and All Wheel Drive will probably be more than adequate … and safe. If you are going to be clunking over 50 years of washouts on old mine roads in the Great Basin, you’re going to need a vehicle that possibly is not especially safe on the highway.

Use a search engine to dig out data on fatalities per passenger mile for various models.

Do you really need offroading capabilities? You mud run, rock crawl or travel on the beach?
Why not look into a Hummer H1/2? GM is selling it off, so you could probably find a brand new one for the price of a slightly used SUV from another maker

Buick Terraza, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler T&C (long wheelbase), and Subaru Outback are all about equivalent during the years 2005-2007. They are also similar to the XC-90 and LR3. These ratings are based on collision, bodily injury, and medical payment records from the Highway Loss Data Institute (

If a Land Rover is too flashy, then an H2…

I’d say a Saturn Vue, a Honda CRV, Hyundai Santa Fe, or Lexus RX.

A recent (several years ago) published ranking of the safest vehicles made and had a Mercedes Sedan number one and a Toyota 4Runner as number 2 as determined buy the fewest deaths in accidents per so many miles. I believe mine is relatively safe but I wouldn’t personally rank it so high.

Such ratings are as much dependent upon the driving habits of the people that own them as anything. I feel vehicles like the Land Rover may indeed be very safe…if they spend more time in a repair shop than on the road.

Too much subjectivity. Good acceleration for example, may be a safety feature in the hands of a prudent driver, but an accident incentive for someone who is not. Generally, a car based Suv should be safer than a truck based. But then if you tow much, the truck based one may be better/safer…

Safety depends upon you matching the vehicle to it’s intended use and staying within its design parameters. No matter what you buy, use it was intended to be, and everything should be fine.

Consider for example, my high 4 Runner driven prudently in awd with studded tires in icy roads. I would consider it superior safety wise to a rear wheel drive, over power Corvette in the same conditions, even though the dry handling characteristics are as different as night and day.
Get the picture ?

Remember that the safest car is the one that is driven safest. The best technology in the world will not make up for a second rate driver.

Why do you say Need extremely safe, fairly large SUV?

Sorry. Wrong. The Safest Car Is Not Always “The One That Is Driven Safest”.

Driving safely certainly helps. As I have said before, I have been hit by another vehicle while stopped (pinned in) in traffic at an open draw bridge. We have had 2 other similar accidents in our family. Fortunately, I had the foresight to enclose my family in large safe vehicles, not little clown cars.

The best technology in the world will not make up for a second rate driver.” Sorry, but wrong again. I had an elderly aunt who turned into the path of a vehicle and caused a head-on. She is alive today because her large car was designed to absorb the impact and air bag deployment did its job! She shouldn’t have been on the road, but that’s not your argument, here.

Why do you say Need extremely safe, fairly large SUV?” Who cares why they " Need extremely safe, fairly large SUV? The question was “Safety is paramount. Any recommendations appreciated.


Here’s a web site that ‘scores’ the safety of vehicles based on a number of factors:

Me, I wouldn’t touch a LR, given their dismal reliability.

Wow. Thanks for all the input!

FoDaddy: I agree the Volvo is hard to beat. I’d be happy to keep it. We’ll see.

waterboy: We do have option to purchase; I’m working on husband about that.

Docnick: One reason I like the Volvo is because it has a lower CofG. I don’t cover a lot of highway miles, but when I do, I like to feel safe. Volvo and LR are both expensive repairs. What I do off-road is travel a lot of dirt roads, rutty/muddy in summer, not icy/snowy in winter. Volvo doesn’t do well in deep snow or on ice. I have all-wheel, would like something with separate 4-wheel system, like my old Expedition, which could plow through anything.

vtcodger2: see previous response

bscar: Hummer is also too flashy for my taste.

GSN fan: You got that one right. I will look into other suggestions.

itsanders: I looked at the cars you mentioned. All okay with me size-wise; I think husband is concerned that, like them, the Volvo has a low front that could slide under something. That’s why he likes the chunky LR3.

dagosa: Thank you for your honesty! And I get the picture. The Volvo actually does suit my needs. Maybe with better tires I could navigate the slush and goo better.

Joe: I say “extremely safe, fairly large SUV” because I was victim of an “accident” about 30 years ago (via a very drunk driver) that caused permanent injury. Said incident heightened my awareness of vehicle construction as it relates to injury and death. Well-built is good, big and well-built can be better.

CSA: You nailed it. Said accident involved the bed of other driver’s pick-up truck sliding up and over the hood of my 1970s Dodge, which buckled, then tore of its hinges and pinned me between it and the headrest. This obviously had nothing to do with the safety of my driving! I wish I had been driving a Volvo then - perhaps I would have fared better.

texases: Thanks for the link to Very insightful!

Check 'em all out for yourself. The LR3 would easily be destroyed by any reasonably sized truck. Maybe you should be a used H1; possibly and International RXT. Thee might still be some new RXTs on the lot.

Ford Excursion. Safe, comfortable and not bothered by casual off road Excursions…