To address higher-speed crashes that continue to cause fatalities, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) introduces a tougher side crash test. However, the first set of small SUVs tested for the new segment returned disappointing results, with only one model garnering a Good rating out of the 20 entries. This wasn’t a surprise, according to the IIHS.
“Obviously, these results aren’t great, but they’re in line with what we expected when we adopted this more stringent test,” says IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller. Mueller’s research formed the foundation for the new test protocol – in the name of safety, as always.
Out of the models tested, only the Mazda CX-5 got a good rating. Nine vehicles earn acceptable ratings: the Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Venza, and Volvo XC40.
However, eight vehicles – the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Kia Sportage, and Lincoln Corsair – got marginal ratings, while the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, earned poor ratings.
All vehicle models tested were 2021 models, except for the Outlander, which skipped the 2021 model year so the 2020 model was tested. IIHS said that all the ratings will carry over to the 2022 model year, such as the 2022 Mazda CX-5 pictured in the gallery above, except for the Compass and the Tucson.
Updates on the tougher side crash test include a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. The barrier now weighs 4,180 pounds (1,896 kilograms), which is close to the weight of a modern midsize SUV. It will hit the test vehicle at a speed of 37 miles per hour (60 kilometers per hour).
Of note, in the original side crash test, which was introduced in 2003, the barrier weighed 3,300 pounds (1,497 kg) and hit test vehicles at 31 mph (50 km/h).