Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited (JL) Gets Downgraded In Latest IIHS Side Safety Test!

New Test Is Conducted With Faster Barrier And More Weight...

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has re-evaluated 18 midsized SUVs using its new side-impact test. The updated test uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. Instead of using the 3,300 lbs. striking the test vehicle that the IIHS has been using for the past 20 years, the new one weighs around 4,200 lbs., approximately the weight of most modern midsize SUVs. Now, the striking test vehicle also runs at 37 mph, instead of the 31 mph conducted in the tests in the past. Those changes make the crash produce about 82% more energy.

View of the vehicle just after the crash test. (IIHS).

The honeycomb striking surface of the new barrier also has a different design that acts more like today’s SUVs or pickups when striking the side of another vehicle.

Like the original side test, the new test uses two SID-IIs dummies in the driver seat and in the rear seat behind the driver. The SID-IIs represent a small woman or 12-year-old child.

To earn a good rating in either the old or new side test, the vehicle’s occupant compartment must hold its shape well during the crash. Measures collected from the dummies must not indicate a high risk of severe injuries. In addition, the side airbags and seat belts should prevent the dummies’ heads from making hard contact with the interior of the vehicle.

View of the vehicle after the crash with doors removed, showing the driver-side airbag and damage to the occupant compartment. (IIHS).

Except for the Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited, all the midsize SUVs tested earn good scores for their driver and passenger airbags and head injury measures. The Wrangler Unlimited, which does not have side airbags for the rear seating positions, earns a poor rating for passenger head protection. The absence of this crucial safety feature allowed the head of the rear passenger dummy to hit the vertical support of the vehicle’s removable roof and the window frame of the rear door. This fault was serious enough to bring the overall rating down to “Marginal”, despite “Good: ratings in all the other areas.

Smeared red greasepaint shows where the rear passenger dummy’s head struck the rear door window frame. (IIHS).

In contrast, only the Mazda CX-9, Volkswagen ID.4, and Jeep Wrangler earn “Good” ratings for preventing injuries to the driver’s pelvis — the body region most frequently injured in real-world side crashes — although the Subaru Ascent, Lincoln Aviator, Buick Enclave, Ford Explorer, and Chevrolet Traverse earn acceptable scores.

IIHS Crashworthiness Scores for the 2018 to 2022 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4×4
Rating Overview
Moderate Overlap Front Good
Side (Original Test) Good
Side (Updated Test) Marginal
Roof Strength Good
Head Restraints & Seats Good
Crash Avoidance & Mitigation Ratings
Headlights (Varies By Trim/Option) Marginal/Poor
Front Crash Prevention: Vehicle-To-Vehicle  
Optional System Superior
Front Crash Prevention: Vehicle-To-Pedestrian NOT AVAILABLE
Seat Belts & Child Restraints
Seat Belt Reminders Marginal
LATCH Ease Of Use Good +

Source: IIHS

Jared B

Jared founded MoparInsiders and is a 40-year-old automotive enthusiast from Vancouver, British Columbia. He took an interest in cars at a very young age and has been interested in them ever since. His hobbies include photography, videography, drag racing, and auto detailing. He currently owns and drives a 2023 Audi RS6, a 2022 GMC Sierra, and a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

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So a special interest group changed its own test which isn't used at all in the first place to set federal regulations.
I don't pay any attention to the IIHS.

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