Several Midsize SUVs Fail IIHS Crash Test

Iihs-mazda-cx-9

The 2014 Honda Pilot didn't do very well in Cars.com's $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, and it fared even worse in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest crash test. The Pilot is one of several SUVs that scored poorly in the IIHS's challenging small front overlap test.

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The agency recently performed the test, meant to simulate a 40-mph crash of a vehicle's front corner into another vehicle, a tree or a pole, on nine midsize SUVs; six scored marginal or poor. Only the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain took home good ratings, earning them Top Safety Pick Plus status.

The GM twins join the redesigned-for-2014 Toyota Highlander, which was tested last year and also deemed a Top Safety Pick Plus. To qualify for the agency's highest award, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable small overlap rating, good ratings in four other occupant protection tests and a rating of basic or higher for front crash prevention.

In the Equinox and Terrain tests, IIHS said the dummy driver's space was well maintained and its frontal air bag did a good job of cushioning its head. The agency credits model-year 2014 structural and door pillar modifications for the SUVs' good score.

"SUVs have gotten much safer over the past few generations, but some are better than others at providing comprehensive front crash protection," David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer, said in a statement.

On the bottom of the list, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer scored marginal and the Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9 and Honda Pilot all got poor scores. In the case of the CX-9, the A-pillar got pushed in by about 17 inches, the side airbag didn’t deploy and the dummy's head struck the door frame after sliding off the front airbag.

IIHS said the driver's space was even more compromised during the Honda Pilot's crash test with the parking brake pedal caving inward more than 16 inches, the dummy’s head slipping off the airbag and the steering column shifting over 5 inches. However, several of Honda's other vehicles, including the 2013 Pilot, are Top Safety Picks, and the automaker said it's committed to improving the Pilot's small front overlap crash score.

"Every new generation of the Honda Pilot has helped lead the light truck segment with a wide range of standard safety and driver assistive technologies and we are committed that it will continue to do so in the future," the automaker said in a statement.

Midsize SUVs aren't the only group struggling with this test. The small front overlap test has also proven difficult for many automakers and vehicle classes, including compact crossovers and compact sedans.

"The test is more difficult than either the head-on crashes conducted by the government or the longstanding IIHS moderate overlap test. In a small overlap test, the main structures of the vehicle's front-end crush zone are bypassed, making it hard for the vehicle to manage crash energy," IIHS said in a statement.

IIHS image

Comments 

Mike

The part of this paragraph is misleading, "However, several of Honda's other vehicles, including the 2013 Pilot, are Top Safety Picks, and the automaker said it's committed to improving the Pilot's small front overlap crash score."

This is misleading because the reason the 2013 model is a Top Safety Pick is because they didn't test small frontal overlap. They're the same model! You can really only compare it to models in the same year because crash tests evolve over time. You're saying the older one is safer, which is untrue.

(Note, I know these models are not unsafe in general, and that the new small overlap test is very difficult to score well on)

Raymond Ramírez

Honda will write anything to save its image. Wake up, America! Imports are not safer anymore than true American made vehicles! I have an Equinox and it is built like a small tank! Excellent job, GM!

Derrick G

Let's stop with all the crap about this manufacturer vs. that one. Fact is, this is a brand new test and GM, Toyota, and Honda have all had at least one vehicle get a Poor in it. Actually, despite Cindy's claims, Toyota has had quite a few. Drivers really interested in the results of these tests should go to the IIHS's site and look rather than trust in the the spewings of fan-owners wishing to justify their purchase decisions.

Bob

Attention cars.com staff:

I'd like to flag the comment spam from "Cindy" pumping Insurance Panda. A very similar post from "Katy" was posted to the recent SUV mileage article:

http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2014/04/which-3-row-suv-gets-the-best-mileage.html

George

Still a bogus test.
There is no engagement of the crumple zone.

Tony

Cindy is getting me tired. Not like it was corolla that failed miserably...

J

Raymond,

The majority of that Equinox is made in Ingersoll, Ontario. They are also made in Oshawa, Ontario.

The only American made ones are from Spring Hill, Tennessee...

On the other hand, the Honda Pilot is made in Lincoln, Alabama.

Last time I checked, Ontario is a province of the great country called CANADA!

Karl

yaaaaa Canada!

AladdinSane

I KNEW Cindy's comment looked familiar...Bob: you're on da beam. "Cindy" is a fraud!

Is this the exact same test that the small suv's go through for the small-overlap? surprising that the pilot and cx-9 did worse than some small suv's.

Gottubes

Crashing vehicles into fixed barriers is not a valid measure of safety. Which vehicle would you rather be driving in a small offset head-on collision. A 4700 pound "Marginal" Grand Cherokee or a 2700 pound "Good" Honda Civic. Let's put it this way, I'm not trading in my Grand Cherokee for a Civic anytime soon!

It is of no surprise to me to see a Chevy top the list and earn top safety pick plus status. I dont think I will ever drive a vehicle that is not a Chevy.

Kristi

I will stick by my Honda CRV no matter what the "tests" claim. I walked away from this exact type of accident without so much as a scratch. I was doing at least 50 when I slammed into the back of another car (no thanks to the jerk who slammed on his brakes and swerved in front of me causing me to swerve into the other lane to avoid hitting him, only to hit the person he was avoiding). I had absolutely no injuries, so of course I replaced my lost car with another CRV. This type of report bothers me as they only test specific models yet make it sound like all of the cars from a specific manufacturer are bad. My advice, do a lot of research, one article is not all telling.

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