5 American-tough SUVs to keep your family rolling

FireRescue1 recommends these options when you’re looking for your next vehicle.


The Internet is a vast library of resources when it comes time to pick the best vehicle for your family. However, finding which sources compare the aspects of a car that matter to you can be a lengthy process. That’s why FireRescue1 has taken the reins on the research process. We’ve scoured the web to find the five best, American-made SUVs for families, judged according to four important features:

  • Americanness: We like to support our country. The Kogod Made In America Auto Index Score shows where the bulk of any car is made, from the engine to the assembly, parts and materials. The survey also takes into account where the global headquarters of each automaker is located. Each car is given a score that identifies “how American” it is. The higher the score, the more interested we are.
  • Longevity: Automotive research firm iSeeCars.com conducted a survey detailing which cars are most likely to still run smoothly after 200,000 miles. The longer the car runs, the better the vehicle.
  • Safety: This category is so important in a family car we’ve checked it twice: Once by Kelly Blue Book’s safest SUV survey, and once by Safercar.gov’s five-star safety test. The safest cars get the highest accolades from us.
  • Industry recommendations: We wanted to hear what the automotive industry experts had to say, too. We turned to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds and JD Power reviews to find which SUVs they think are the toughest and the safest for families.

After comparing the endless amount of research online, we have found five top-rated, American SUVs that we recommend as the best for keeping your family protected.

Our top picks

1. Buick Enclave

The rookie

The Enclave’s name was missing from only from the longevity category, perhaps that’s because Enclaves are fairly new vehicles and data is limited. (The first version of this crossover SUV launched as a 2008 model.) But when it comes to safety and comfort, sources agree: This is the perfect (and safe) family car.

Enclave tied for the No. 1 “Most American Car” according to the Kogod index. Out of 100 points, the Enclave received 87.5 for American made. (The vehicle that tied with Enclave is #3 on this list).

2. Ford Expedition

The tried and true

The Expedition hype has been around for a long time, and for good reason: Expeditions rank highly in safety. This large SUV screams “soccer parent” with its eight-passenger seating. Expeditions also rank highly in the iSeeCars.com longevity survey, it’s a vehicle you can depend on even after 200,000 miles. The Expedition was ranked an overall best full-size SUV by Kelley Blue Book, and a five-star safety vehicle from SaferCar.

3. Acura RDX

The surprise entry

Maybe the most shocking SUV to make the list is the RDX. At first glance Acura doesn’t have the same domestic label as a Ford or a Chevrolet, yet according to the Kogod index, the Acura RDX is one of the top three “Most American” SUVs on our streets. This small luxury SUV also checks the boxes for safety from Safercar.

4. Chevrolet Traverse

The patriotic pick

It’s no surprise that a Chevy SUV makes our list, especially when considering the American-made factor. The Traverse ties with the Buick Enclave for the No. 1 spot on the Kogod Made in America Auto Index. The Traverse received high marks from Kelley Blue Book and SaferCar in the safety category, as well.

5. Ford Edge

The economical pick

Affordability wasn’t a key factor in picking the best vehicle, but it was still on our minds. The Edge scored highly on safety tests by SaferCar, voted as a top SUV from the experts at Kelley Blue Book, and happens to be an affordable SUV (starting at $28,700). This mid-sized model also scored highly as an American-made vehicle. Safe, domestic and affordable are a perfect combo to land the Edge on this list.

So, whatever you’re looking for, rest assured there are top-rated vehicles out there that provide safety and value for your family. Bonus points for the vehicles that add a bit of patriotism, too. 

About the author

The FireRescue1 Lifestyle content series is written for the off-duty firefighter. Here you’ll find content on everything from the latest automotive and entertainment trends to tips and tricks for financial planning – all written from a firefighter's perspective, with an eye toward what makes you unique even when you’re not at the station.

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