Popular small SUVs fail critical crash test

Philip LeBeau
16 May 2013

MORE AT CNBC.COM

Some of the most popular small SUVs have failed crash tests that simulate a common and deadly front end collision.

"These are troubling results," said Joe Nolan with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "These small SUV's are very popular and for the most part pretty safe, but with these tests most of them did not do well."

For the first time the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted small overlap crash tests with small SUV's. Eleven of the thirteen models tested received marginal or poor ratings.

"Too often many of these models did a poor job protecting the front occupant cabin," said Nolan.


IIHS Small Frontal Crash Tests

Model Rating

'14 Subaru Forester -  Good
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - Acceptable
BMW X1 - Marginal
Nissan Rogue - Marginal
Mazda CX-5 - Marginal
Honda CR-V - Marginal
Jeep Wrangler (2 door) -  Marginal
Volkswagen Tiguan - Marginal
Hyundai Tuscon - Poor
Kia Sportage - Poor
Buick Encore - Poor
Jeep Patriot - Poor
Ford Escape - Poor


First Time Crash Tests

So why did small SUVs struggle with these crash tests?

In part it's because many of these models were not designed to specifically protect passengers involved in small frontal crashes.

In these crashes only the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle, or a tree or pole. The IIHS says this type of accident accounts for about 24% of the serious injuries and deaths that occur in frontal crashes.

In recent years IIHS has started testing for small overlap crashes because the risk of severe damage or structural collapse of the passenger cabin.

Following these tests, the IIHS was particularly critical of the performance of the Nissan Rogue.

Nissan responded to the results saying, "Nissan will continue to review these and other results from the IIHS 'small overlap front test' as we seek opportunities for improvement."


Top Safety Picks Despite Results

Even though most of the small SUV's tested received a marginal or poor ratings, many have been deemed Top Safety Picks by the IIHS.

While that may seem like a conflict, Nolan points out these small SUVs are still safe vehicles overall.

"I don't think these small overlap tests will force people to sell their SUV," said Nolan. "And in a couple years, when many of these models are re-designed I wouldn't be surprised if they improve their crash test results."

What to read next

Wall Street Pro Says This Stock Could Triple

He's been recognized as one of America's Top Stock Pickers. Now, he's recommending this small cap.

Coming Soon To Chancellorsville, VA: LUXURY

Upscale single-family home community featuring luxurious homes on ½ acre homesites in Spotsylvania County. Join the Priority List today!

Save Money on Your Next Vegas Trip, Learn How Now

Stay off the strip for your next trip and get 20% off room rates plus food credits. Experience great hospitality at all 7 unique locations. Book Today

Escape The Usual In Unforgettable San Antonio

Make this a summer to remember with exciting theme parks, delicious fine dining, amazing culture and more – only in thrilling San Antonio.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 3.25% (3.405% APR) 30 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Safe ride. Sound savings.

Get to Nissan’s Safety Today Event for great offers on a new Nissan. Shop Now.