SUVs are widely regarded as the safest cars on the road, and for the most part they are -- albeit woe to any wimpy hatchback that gets into an accident with one. But in the small SUV segment, which includes vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Jeep Patriot and Kia Sportage, the safety situation changes considerably.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety took cars in this category and put them through the proverbial wringer: the so-called small overlap front crash test. This test simulates what happens to a car when 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end catches a barrier at 40 mph and sends it into a spin. These type of collisions miss the primary structures of a car’s frame aimed at deflecting crash energy, not only causing collapses of the occupant compartment, but also forcing the vehicle into a spin than can send a driver’s head through the side window, dodging the airbag.
Says the IIHS: “The 2014 Subaru Forester is the first vehicle to ace every aspect of the challenging small overlap front crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.”
And who ranked at the bottom?
The 2013 Jeep Wrangler two-door.
While the Forester earned top grades for two types of overlap collisions, as well as side, rollover and rear collisions, the two-door Jeep Wrangler received the highest grade in only one type of overlap collision and it scored poorly for side hits.
The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport also ranked very well in the tests while the 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara was the second lowest scorer.
Here are the results of the crash tests: