Two popular midsize SUVs fail IIHS crash test


The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer earned poor ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s recent crash tests of eight midsize SUVs.

The latest ratings are based on results from the passenger-side small overlap test. A small overlap crash occurs when just the front corner of the vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole.

The IIHS began rating vehicles in driver-side small overlap crashes in 2012 and automakers made safety improvements. It began rating vehicles in the passenger-side test last year.

“Although some vehicles in this group offer very good protection, in other models, the airbags, safety belts and structure showed serious deficiencies,” says IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “In those SUVs, a front-seat passenger would be at risk of injuries to the head, hip or leg in a right-side small overlap front crash.”

Here’s why the IIHS says the 2018 Ford Explorer and 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee performed so poorly in the test…

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Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee earn poor ratings in IIHS crash test

Ford Explorer

“The Ford Explorer rates poor because its structure was seriously compromised. Intrusion reached 15 inches at the lower door hinge pillar and 13 inches at the upper door hinge pillar and the dashboard. The door sill was pushed in 6 inches toward the dummy. Measures taken from the dummy showed a high likelihood of injuries to the right hip in a real-world crash of the same severity, as well as a possibility of left lower leg injuries.”

Jeep Grand Cherokee 

“The Jeep Grand Cherokee had maximum intrusion of 10 inches at the lower door hinge pillar. More alarming was what happened to the passenger dummy’s head. It hit the dashboard hard through the front airbag and then, because the side curtain airbag didn’t deploy and the door opened, it moved outside the vehicle during rebound. Measures from the dummy indicated that right leg injuries would be likely in a crash of this severity and a head injury would be possible.”

The other six midsize SUVs fared better. The 2019 Kia Sorento, 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and 2018 GMC Acadia were rated good overall. Acceptable ratings went to the 2018 Toyota Highlander, 2018 Nissan Pathfinder and 2018 Honda Pilot.

Passenger-side small overlap crash test ratings for midsize SUVs

The Sorento is the only one of these eight SUVs to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ award, its highest honor. Read more about this crash test and see the full list of Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ winners.


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