Poor Ratings for 11/13 Popular SUVs

Believe it or not, only two of thirteen small to mid-size SUVs performed well in insurance industry front-end crash tests. Most of today’s most popular models fared poorly in the evaluations, leaving SUV retailers nervous about sales.

The two best performing SUVs were the Subaru Forester (2014 model), which received a “good rating,” and the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, which was named “acceptable.” Unfortunately, fast-selling, popular models such as the Honda CR-V, Jeep Wrangler, and Ford Escape ranked as “poor” or “marginal,” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

According to Ward’s Auto Info Bank, small and midsize SUVs, which get relatively good gas mileage and have decent cargo space, are among the fastest growing segments of the American automobile market. Sales apparently doubled from 2005 to 2012, when American consumers purchased more than 2.5 million of the vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings are influential and hard to ignore, as most individuals who compare vehicles online will undoubtedly discover them. The group says that its crash tests and rating systems were created to force automakers into improving the crash-worthiness of their vehicles. The group’s tests are more stringent and focused than the United States government’s front crash test. The institute, which tests the vehicle’s front end, says that in most vehicles, a crash affecting one quarter of the front end misses the main structures working to absorb the impact. Front end crashes account for almost a quarter of the collisions that cause critical or fatal injuries to front seat drivers and passengers, according to the IIHS.

The 2013 Ford Escape, which has so far been the top-selling SUV in 2013, received a “poor” rating.  Similarly, the Honda CR-V ranked as “marginal,” while Toyota’s RAV-4 has avoided the testing, in efforts to improve the vehicle’s structure. The other SUVs to get the dreaded “poor” ratings were the Buick Encore, Kia Sportage, Jeep Patriot, and the Hyundai Tuscson. “Marginal” ratings were awarded to the two-door Jeep Wrangler, Volkswagen Tiguan, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, and the BMW X1.

Ford, retailer of the most popular small size SUV, released a statement saying that the Ford Escape is indeed safe as it is equipped with advanced safety features and a structure intended to manage the impact of a crash.

Overall, though, the Outlander Sport and the Forester each received the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick award because the vehicles performed well in multiple tests. Only twenty other vehicles of all types have received this same coveted award.

The IIHS, which is a non profit research group funded by car insurance companies, conducts its small offset test by crashing cars into a fixed five foot barrier at 40 mph. This is an attempt to simulate collisions with a utility pole or tree. The institute demotes a vehicle if the structure enters the passenger compartment, or if a crash dummy suffers injuries. The group also does a substantial amount of research to measure each vehicle’s seat belts and air bag effectiveness.  The ratings start at “good” and become “acceptable,” then “marginal,” then “poor.”

The IIHS tests have a huge impact on the decision to purchase a vehicle, as people are concerned about safety when they shift to a smaller model. These test results can impact sales of certain models, especially with more and more families and parents purchasing these types of vehicles for their kids.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a crash in a poor performing vehicle? Did you sustain injuries in your vehicle as the result of someones negligence, inattention, an unlawful act, or an SUV rollover accident? If so, you deserve to be both counseled on your rights, and compensated for your losses. Contact a Missouri car accident lawyer who specializes in vehicle crashes and personal injuries today for a free case evaluation. After a devastating crash, you want an aggressive attorney, willing to go head to head with the insurance companies while you focus on recovering. Give injury attorney Chris Dixon a call today for a free case evaluation at no obligation; remember, he won’t get paid unless you are compensated. Dial 314.409.7060, or call us toll free at 855.40.CRASH.

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