It’s nice to have the extra space in your 3rd-row SUV, but what happens to the people in the back seats during an accident? Is there as much protection for them as there is for the driver and the passenger up front? If you’re looking for one of the safest best new SUVs with the extra row of seats, the only thing you really have to go by is previous designs and the crash test rating. Luckily we’re here for you to provide all crash test ratings and safety standards courtesy of Motor Trend (, Edmunds (, and Kelley Blue Book ( No matter where you set the bar on tests, you want to make sure that all of your passengers are safe whenever you take them out. After all, they’re not called accidents for nothing. So, let’s take a look at the best new safest SUVs with the 3rd-row seating.

1. 2010-2011 Ford Flex Base MSRP: $29,850

If the airbag sensors are tripped in the Flex, look for pillows to fly out from everywhere. Aside from the front, side, and rear curtain airbags, the Flex utilizes 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and stability and traction control. It has also received a good rating in frontal offset and side impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, according to Edmunds. A rearview camera is also an available option.

2. 2010-2011 Hyundai Veracruz Base MSRP: $28,940

Another 5-star crash winner in all four front and side impact tests, the Veracruz employs safety standards for all seven of its passengers. It also employs 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and suspension control. The P245/65R17 tires leave more than ample space across the tread pattern, providing the best possible tire grip for a vehicle of its size as well.

3. 2010-2011 Mazda CX-9 Base MSRP: $29,585

All standard safety equipment, including anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist and stability control, come with the CX-9. It passed both the National Highway Safety and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crash tests with 5-star ratings and comes standard with front and side curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers and driver. The rearview camera is available on the higher-end models, such as the Touring and Grand Touring, and the blind spot warning system is standard on Grand Touring models.

4. 2010-2011 Buick Enclave Base MSRP: $36,390

Despite performing very well in all crash test ratings conducted by the National Highway Safety Board, the Enclave sits at the bottom of the list due to its lack of a positive outcome in the brake testing. From 60 mph, the Enclave stopped in a length of 139 feet with “noticeable fade after multiple stops” according to Edmunds. It is also loaded with chrome trim which can cause blinding glares on sunny days.

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