Wednesday, 18 May 2022 08:57

Most Midsize SUVs Perform Well in New Side Test


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More than half the midsize SUVs tested earn good ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new side-impact evaluation.

Ten out of 18 midsize SUVs earn good ratings: the Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX60, Lincoln Aviator, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport and Volkswagen ID.4, the only electric vehicle in the group.


Two more, the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, earn acceptable ratings. Six others are rated marginal: the Honda Passport, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Kia Telluride and Nissan Murano.


When IIHS announced the first ratings in the new test in October, only one out of 20 small SUVs managed a good rating, while half were rated marginal or poor.


“It’s encouraging to see so many midsize SUVs from different automakers earn good ratings in this more challenging evaluation,” said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller, whose research formed the foundation for the new test protocol. “These results will help confirm the adjustments they need to make to other vehicles going forward.”


IIHS introduced the new, tougher side test to address higher-speed crashes that continue to cause fatalities. Like the original side test, the new test represents the type of crash that occurs when two crossing vehicles collide in an intersection.


A 2011 study of 10 years’ worth of crash data found that a driver of a vehicle with a good rating in the original test is 70% less likely to die in a left-side crash than a driver of a vehicle with a poor rating. However, side impacts still accounted for 23% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2020.


The updated evaluation uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. Instead of the earlier 3,300 pounds, the new one weighs around 4,200 pounds, which approximates the weight of most modern midsize SUVs. Instead of striking the test vehicle at 31 mph, it hits it at 37 mph. Together, those changes mean the crash produces 82% more energy.


The honeycomb striking surface of the new barrier also has...

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