Popular SUVs Score Poorly on Recent Crash Test
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently rated eight midsize SUVs in crash tests. These tests specifically rated impacts to the passenger side of vehicles. The IIHS found that two of the vehicles failed substantially, while the other six received ratings of “good” or higher. The two vehicles that scored poorly were the 2018 Ford Explorer and the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Last year, Ford sold 238,056 Explorers, and while the sales figures are unclear as to which model year was sold, Ford’s Vice President Mark LaNeve, does claim that 2017 was a “record” year for SUV sales.
Each vehicle, according the IIHS’ report, was put under a “small overlap” crash test. This is when the crash involves the front corner of the vehicle striking an object such as a tree. The IIHS began testing for this in 2012.
Under this test, the Ford Explorer’s structure was “seriously compromised.” The lower and upper door hinge pillars reached over twelve inches of intrusion on the dashboard and the door was six inches closer to the passenger. The crash would have likely resulted in hip and lower leg injuries to a passenger.
Similarly, the Jeep Grand Cherokee had a “maximum intrusion of ten inches at the lower door hinge pillar.” The dummy’s head hit the dashboard and the side airbag failed to deploy. Even further, the passenger door opened which caused the dummy to hang outside the SUV after impact.
The remainder of the vehicles, according to the report, had a “maximum intrusion of four inches” at the floorplan. While models like the Honda Pilot and GMC Acadia showed signs of potential head injury during the crash test, these models still controlled the dummy’s movement well enough to satisfy the grading test.
Out of all of the SUVs tested, the 2019 Kia Sorento, earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick. This year, the model was specifically designed to improve safety performance for small overlap crashes. This model sported reinforced doors.
Chief Research Officer, David Zuby, believes the issues are resulting from “older designs compared to vehicles that are getting better ratings.” Which could explain why the only 2019 model in the testing group performed best. He also notes that both Ford and Jeep have promised improved crash protection in their next year’s models.
Consumers can go on to the IIHS’ website to review the safety features and test results for specific makes and models. The IIHS has also put out press releases to keep consumers updated on vehicle safety.