IIHS Adds One Midsize SUV, One Luxury SUV to Top Safety Pick+ List
Nissan Murano, Audi Q5 Ace Small Overlap
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently subjected seven midsize SUVs and one midsize luxury SUV to its challenging small overlap front crash test, and four walked away with a satisfactory rating. The Nissan Murano, Jeep Wrangler, and Audi Q5 aced the test, earning a “good” rating, while the Ford Flex crossover earned an “acceptable” rating in the test, which simulates a front-offset collision with a narrow obstacle.
The test can be very difficult for a vehicle to pass, as evidenced by the four midsize SUVs that didn’t do very well on the small overlap. The Dodge Durango, Jeep Cherokee, and Hyundai Santa Fe each earned a marginal rating, while the Dodge Journey had poor performance in the test. Each of those vehicles experienced too much cabin collapse, reducing the driver’s survival space. In the case of the Journey, the dashboard was pushed back a maximum of 9 inches, moving the airbag out of the path of the driver’s head, while the parking brake pedal intruded so much that it gashed the crash test dummy’s leg.
The Nissan Murano’s good performance in the small overlap test means that it is now rated as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. Additionally, the 2015 Audi Q5, with its enhanced and improved front crash structure, was given the same award. In order to get that rating, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating on the small overlap test and good ratings on the institute’s other four crash tests: moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. Additionally, an advanced or superior-rated front crash prevention system must be available for the vehicle, at least as an option.
Without such an option, but with acceptable or good scores on all tests, the Ford Flex is now rated as a Top Safety Pick (no plus). Although the Jeep Wrangler did well on the small overlap crash test, its marginal performance in side impact crashes and head restraint testing, along with its roofless structure, mean the IIHS does not recommend the Wrangler to consumers. (Anecdotally, this author thinks that’s a bit unfair, as the Wrangler’s sturdy roll bars and elevated stance somewhat negate its less desirable crash performance attributes.)
Other winners in the midsize SUV segment include the Toyota Highlander (TSP+) and Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Kia Sorento, and Nissan Pathfinder (TSP). Top-rated midsize luxury SUVs include the Acura MDX, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz ML, and Volvo XC60 (TSP+), along with the Infiniti QX60 (TSP).
Check out the videos of the new crash tests below, and let us know: Does safety play an important role in your choice of vehicle?
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety