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IIHS Issues New Round of Crash Test Ratings for Midsize SUVs

By: Jeff Youngs, 4/9/2014
In the latest round of crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the organization examined nine midsize SUV models to determine how well they protect occupants in a variety of collisions, including the small overlap frontal-impact test that is designed to replicate what happens when a vehicle strikes a utility pole, tree, or oncoming traffic on the front left corner of the vehicle.

Of the nine models examined, three earn a "Top Safety Pick" designation: the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox, 2014 GMC Terrain, and the 2014 Toyota Highlander. Each of these three models can be upgraded to a "Top Safety Pick+" rating by adding an optional front crash prevention system such as forward-collision warning and automatic braking, and they join the 2014 Subaru Outback--a 5-passenger crossover previously tested by the IIHS--which received these same designations.

"SUVs have gotten much safer over the past few generations, but some are better than others at providing comprehensive front crash protection," said David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer. "When it comes to midsize SUVs, General Motors is showing the way forward."

Zuby makes this statement based on the performance of the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2014 GMC Terrain, its corporate twin, in the small overlap frontal impact test. According to the IIHS, General Motors modified the Equinox and Terrain for 2014, changing the front door-hinge pillars and the vehicles' front structure in order to better protect occupants. As a result of these changes, both SUVs excel in all IIHS crash-test evaluations.

The only other midsize SUV to earn a "Top Safety Pick" and "Top Safety Pick+" rating for the 2014 model year--and the only midsize model with 3-row seating--is the redesigned Toyota Highlander.

All six of the remaining models tested received a "Marginal" or "Poor" rating from the IIHS. The 2014 Ford Explorer, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the 2014 Toyota 4Runner each earned a "Marginal" rating. A "Poor" rating was assigned to the 2014 Honda Pilot, 2014 Kia Sorento, and 2014 Mazda CX-9.

Note that the IIHS did not examine the Dodge Durango, Ford Edge, Ford Flex, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Murano, Nissan Pathfinder, or Nissan Xterra as a part of this most recent round of testing.

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