Most midsize SUVs offer inadequate front crash protection for passengers seated in the rear, the latest crash test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show.
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“All these vehicles provide excellent protection for the driver,” said IIHS President David Harkey, “but only a handful extend that level of safety to the back seat.”
IIHS recently updated its longstanding moderate overlap front crash test to add a rear passenger dummy positioned behind the driver. Although the test still includes a driver dummy, rear passenger protection is the main thing currently differentiating vehicles in this test.
Of 13 midsize SUVs tested, only four the Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Subaru Ascent and Tesla Model Y earn good ratings.
Three others, the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas, earn marginal ratings. Six more, the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Murano, are rated poor.
To earn a good rating, measurements recorded by sensors in the second-row dummy must not exceed limits indicating an excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest, abdomen or thigh.
Video footage and greasepaint applied to the dummy’s head must confirm that the restraints prevented the head from hitting the vehicle interior or coming too close to the front seatback and also prevented the dummy’s body from “submarining,” or sliding forward beneath the lap belt, which causes abdominal injuries.
A pressure sensor that monitors the position of the shoulder belt on the torso of the dummy is also used to help gauge the risk of chest injuries.
As in the original test, the structure of the occupant compartment must also maintain adequate survival space for the driver, and measurements taken from the driver dummy must not show excessive risk of injuries. ■
A very strong low pressure system currently just offshore of San Francisco Bay will continue to bring high winds, heavy rain, and heavy mountain snow for California and adjacent areas of the Southwest through tonight and Wednesday as the latest in a series of atmospheric rivers impacts the West.