US: IIHS crashes show weaknesses of midsize sport utility vehicles image

While the US market is engulfed in the SUV and pickup truck sales boom, there are signs of worry – the US safety group showing how weak midsize SUVs can be during its latest round of testing.

The majority of midsize sport utility vehicles crashed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) turned worst than expected results, with the Dodge Journey being the unfortunate leader in poor performances. With seven models tested, only Nissan’s Murano and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s four-door Jeep Wrangler managed to reach the overall “good” rating. The SUVs were also tested in the new small overlap front crash test, which has been designed as a tougher procedure than the one used by the US government. The poor performances point out to the weaknesses underlying with a widely sought category – even as sport utility vehicles are usually deemed to be safer than corresponding passenger cars.

Of the tested lot, Ford’s Flex got an “acceptable” rating, while the Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Durango received a “marginal” rating. In the small overlap testing procedure, only the small part of the front corner of the vehicle is involved, with the impact mostly affecting the front wheel, suspension and front firewall – and unless passenger protection is adequate, the result could lead to serious foot and leg injuries. Back in January, the US nonprofit association that gets its funds from auto insurers showed that subcompact vehicles are the worst performers in the auto sector when the new procedure is applied.

Via Reuters