Are Crossover SUVs As Safe As You Want Them to Be?

We all might have noticed the intense rise in the sales and popularity of small crossovers. They seem to be much more practical than the large SUVs as well as sedans, and have attracted a large proportion of young customers. Consequently, these small SUVs have risen really high in the number of sales as well as popularity. However, recent tests have shown that quite a significant number of the popular crossovers that run the streets today are not as safe as they are actually supposed to be! This test was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and only two of all the crossovers that participated actually crossed the limit of the passing marks.

The two SUVs that passed the test were the Subaru Forester and the Mitsubishi Outlander. Actually, in true terms it was just the Subaru Forester that actually scored good as the Outlander just scored an acceptable score. All other SUVs could not even cross this ‘acceptable’ mark. It is interesting to note that both of these SUVs had been redesigned recently. Apparently the engineers at Mitsubishi and Subaru kept a keen eye on new test that IIHS introduced!

The new test that was involved in the regular IIHS series of tests was the ‘small overlap crash test’. This test replicates the effects of the vehicle hitting a strong and fixed object like poles, etc. from the front. The SUV under test is made to drive front first into a rigid five feet long object at a speed of 40 miles per hour (64 kilometres per hour). The test replicates the consequences of the vehicles frontal corner being damaged. This test checks the efficiency of airbags and seat belts in a much better way than other frontal crash tests do. IIHS has now created two different categories – ‘Top Safety Pick+’ and ‘Top Safety Pick’. The two above mentioned SUVs which passed the newly introduced ‘small overlap crash test’ were granted the title of ‘Top Safety Pick +’ while the other SUVs which couldn’t pass the test, put did fairly well in the remaining tests were listed under the latter category.

The Institute’s Vice President, Joe Nolan was quoted as saying that “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.” The institute has placed the Subaru Forester and the Mitsubishi Outlander in the ‘Top Safety Pick +’ category and has declared them as the safest choice of all of the SUVs that were tested. The SUVs that were listed in the ‘Top Safety Pick’ category were Kia Sportage, Jeep Patriot, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV-4, Volkswagen Tiguan, BMW X1, Buick Encore, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson. The Toyota RAV-4 has however not been given the new test yet. The Institute says that the SUV will not be tested until next year as there are pending changes which are to be made which will improve the SUV’s safety statistics by many folds.