Small crossover and sport utility models were recently subjected to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) fairly new small-overlap frontal crash test. Thirteen vehicles were tested, and the overall results were abysmal.
The only model to rate ‘Good’ was the new 2014 Subaru Forester. This is the highest possible ranking, and as yet, the Forester has proven to be the best performer in every aspect of the IIHS test. For each vehicle, the test had 25 percent of the front end hit a rigid five-foot-tall barrier while travelling 40 mph. A 50th-percentile belted crash-test dummy was placed in the driver’s seat, and forces on the dummy were measured.
Joe Nolan, vice president for vehicle research for the IIHS, had this to say about the recent crash testing: “With the redesigned Forester, Subaru’s engineers set out to do well in our new test, and they succeeded. This is exactly how we hoped manufacturers would respond to improve protection for people in these kinds of serious frontal crashes.”
In second place is the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander, the only vehicle that earned a rating of ‘Acceptable’ in the new overlap crash test. The other eleven models tested ranked either ‘marginal’ or ‘poor.’
Five separate crash tests are required in order to earn the IIHS’ new Top Safety Pick+ designation, with a score of ‘Good’ required in four out of the five. Tests include the small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, rollover, side and rear. So far, the 2014 Forester and the 2013 Outlander are the only vehicles to rank as Top Safetly Pick+ models.
What this means for car owners is that drivers of the vehicles that earn ‘Good’ rankings in the new test are less likely to be injured in an accident involving an offset head on crash with a tree, pole, barrier or another larger vehicle.
Earning a rating of ‘marginal’ in the small overlap frontal crash test were the BMW X1, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, 2-door Jeep Wrangler and the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Rated ‘poor’ in the testing were the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Buick Encore, Jeep Patriot and Ford Escape.