California Autos Examiner

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IIHS Tests Eight Small SUVs: Four Become Top Picks. Wrangler Goes In Wrong Direction, Demands To Be Traded to Jets

The IIHS recently tested eight small suvs to see how they would fare if my former co-worker Robert drove them. Four of the vehicles tested, 2009 Ford Escape, 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander, 2008 Nissan Rogue, and 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan, received the coveted "Top Safety Pick" award. Three of the remaining SUVs (Suzuki Grand Vitara, Jeep Patriot, and Chevrolet Equinox) had mixed results and the Jeep Wrangler actually performed worse than its predecessor. The Jeep flunked its side impact test because the driver door opened on impact. While the door opening did not actually cause further harm to the occupant, the IIHS worries that it could lead to ejection and really, who wants to be ejected? No word on whether or not the door opened because the dummy tried to bail out.

The Tiguan’s performance was singled out as a standout with the IIHS stating “(The Tiguan) sailed through the front and side crash tests without a single downgrade for structure or measures of injury likelihood recorded on the dummy." The Escape also received accolades for its improved performance. Keep in mind that the Escape's excellent results also apply to its twins the Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute. There are nine results shown in the picture above because the IIHS tested the Jeep Patriot with and without the optional front seats torso airbags.

Personally I was really surprised to see so many of the vehicles do well in the rear crash protection category. The IIHS has really been dinging manufacturers for weak headrest designs and I'm happy to see that automakers are responding. You can check out the full IIHS report in this PDF and watch a brief video by clicking here.

No comments: