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.
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.
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.
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
|Moderate Overlap Front
|Side (Original Test)
|Side (Updated Test)
|Head Restraints & Seats
|Crash Avoidance & Mitigation Ratings
|Headlights (Varies By Trim/Option)
|Front Crash Prevention: Vehicle-To-Vehicle
|Front Crash Prevention: Vehicle-To-Pedestrian
|Seat Belts & Child Restraints
|Seat Belt Reminders
|LATCH Ease Of Use