Compact SUVs Struggle Mightily in IIHS’ New Side Crash Test

The U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has completed new, tougher side crash tests to address higher-speed crashes that continue to cause fatalities and found out that 19 out of 20 compact SUVs failed to earn a “Good” overall rating.

The lone exception? The 2021 Mazda CX-5.

Nine models received an “Acceptable” rating: Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Venza and Volvo XC40.

Photo: IIHS

Then it gets much worse as another eight earned a “Marginal” rating: Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Kia Sportage and Lincoln Corsair. Surprisingly, all but the GMC and the two Jeeps were previously given an IIHS Top Safety Pick award for 2021. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the IIHS has not yet tested the redesigned 2022 Compass and Tucson.

The Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rank at the bottom with a “Poor” overall rating as the integrity of their passenger compartment was severely compromised during the high-speed side crash test.

“Obviously, these results aren’t great, but they’re in line with what we expected when we adopted this more stringent test,” said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller, whose research formed the foundation for the new test protocol.

Photo: IIHS

All 20 compact SUVs earned good ratings in the first-generation side test. The new barrier weighs 4,180 pounds—close to the weight of modern midsize SUVs—and strikes the test vehicle at 60 km/h, compared with a 3,300-pound barrier traveling at 50 km/h in the original evaluation.

The IIHS noted that all the models it tested effectively protected the head and neck, but few were able to provide similar protection for the chest and pelvis. A likely explanation is that the new striking barrier bends around the B-pillar between the driver and rear passenger doors. As a result, depressions are formed in the front and rear doors of the struck vehicle and the occupant space can be compromised even if the B-pillar can withstand the higher-speed impact.

In the case of the HR-V, the B-pillar began to tear away from the frame, allowing the side of the vehicle to crush inward almost to the centre of the driver seat.

Photo: IIHS

Rather than similar flaws, there were many different reasons why the nine acceptable-rated vehicles fell short of a good rating: a marginal driver chest injury for the Encore, inadequate head-protecting airbags for the Rogue, heightened injury measures for the driver’s pelvis for the RAV4, and so forth.

“There’s no single reason why so many side crashes still result in fatalities, but these results provide a roadmap for specific improvements that can save lives,” Mueller said.

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

NewsIIHS Announces Top Safety Pick Award Winners for 2021
A clear sign that automakers are making significant improvements in terms of safety, 49 different models have earned a 2021 Top Safety Pick+ award from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), up from just 22 last year. Adding the 41 other models identified as a 2021 Top Safety …
NewsYoung Drivers Benefit the Most From Crash Avoidance Tech, Study Finds
A new study by the U.S. Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) confirms that crash avoidance systems benefit young drivers more than others. Researchers indeed noticed that these advanced safety features are associated with larger reductions in the frequency of collision and property damage liability claims for drivers under 25 years …
NewsWomen are More Seriously Injured in Car Crashes, Study Shows
Despite the latest advances in vehicle design, technology and safety, women continue to suffer more serious injuries than men when they get into a frontal car crash, even when wearing a seat belt. According to researchers at the University of Virginia’s Center for Applied Biomechanics, belted female occupants have 73 …
NewsWatch: The World's Most Expensive Car Crash Tests
Every car that goes on the road must first pass through collision tests. Exotic cars are no exception. When you boast world-class power and acceleration like a Lamborghini or Pagani, you also need world-class protection in case something goes terribly wrong. The problem is that these supercars are extremely expensive …
First Drives2022 Subaru Forester: Mild or Wilder, it’s up to You
The Forester’s greatest asset and weakness boil down to the fact that it’s a Subaru. The Japanese brand has never been one to follow trends as they were among the first to offer AWD as a standard feature and they’ve stuck it out with horizontally-opposed engines since forever. With perhaps …
BlogSmall SUVs Remain a Big Source of Dissatisfaction
Toyota’s brand new Corolla Cross could not have come soon enough as the smaller C-HR is the least liked vehicle in the entire auto industry for the second year in a row according to Consumer Reports ’ latest survey. The website once again polled its members to gauge their level …
Test Drives2022 Jeep Compass: Indecent Proposal
Despite SUVs being extremely popular, Jeep has a tough time selling its smaller models including the Cherokee , Renegade and Compass . The last one didn’t even manage to top 6,000 units sold in Canada last year. The company introduced a new generation for 2017, and now comes a mid-cycle …
NewsIIHS Announces Top Safety Pick Award Winners for 2022
Vehicles keep getting safer and more advanced, as evidenced by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) identifying 65 different models as a 2022 Top Safety Pick+, up from 49 in 2021 and 22 in 2020. If you also count the 36 other models that were named a 2022 …
NewsChevrolet Trax, Buick Encore Reportedly Dead After 2022
Once popular but now seriously outmatched, the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore will end their production this summer and won’t be back after the 2022 model year, GM Authority reports. Just over a year ago, the same media outlet hinted that a replacement for the Encore was coming based on …
NewsAutomakers Must Improve Seat Belt Reminders, IIHS Warns
Even in 2022, not all car drivers buckle up before hitting the road. And unfortunately, the seat belt reminders designed to address that don’t prove effective enough, according to the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The American watchdog says almost half of the drivers and front seat passengers …
NewsThird of Midsize SUVs Fail IIHS’ New Side Crash Test
Following compact SUVs last fall, midsize SUVs were recently submitted to the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new side crash test, which aims to address higher-speed collisions that continue to cause fatalities on North American roads. While the former failed miserably, how did their bigger counterparts perform? A lot …
Comments