The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put 13 small SUV's through its tough new small-overlap crash tests. The Hyundai Tuscon, Kia Sportage, Buick Encore, Jeep Patriot and Ford Escape all earned an overall rating of "poor" in the tests.
In the small-overlap test, the vehicle hits a hard barrier at 40 miles an hour with just one-quarter of its front bumper. The impact occurs on the left side in front of the driver's seat, and it concentrates crash forces in a small area outside those strong crash safety structures built in to most new vehicles. About a quarter of serious and fatal injuries in front crashes are caused by crashes like this.
The news isn't all bad for those five SUV's, all of them already earned the Institute's top safety pick award. That's because they've done well in the Institute's other crash tests. Two other SUV's that did well in this test - the Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport were given the Institute's new "Top Safety Pick Plus" award, indicating the very safest vehicles.
The BMW X-one, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX Five, Honda CRV and Jeep Wrangler earned the rating of "marginal" in the new crash tests, mostly because of poor protection by their steel crash structures.