Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee Flunk IIHS Crash Test

June 12, 2018 at 5:06 PM

Two SUVs—the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee—received “poor” ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety because of their “serious” crash structure shortcomings.

Six other 2018 and 2019 model midsize SUVs earned “good” or “acceptable” ratings in the same two tests. The crashes separately assess how well the left and right front-end corners of a vehicle absorb all the energy of a frontal impact at 40 mph.

IIHS says the Explorer’s front-end structure and door sill pushed 13-15 inches and 6 inches, respectively, into the passenger compartment. That compares with only 2 inches for top-rated SUVs tested.
Maximum intrusion for the Grand Cherokee was only 10 inches. But the side curtain airbag failed to inflate, and the door opened, which inflicted head and leg injuries to the test dummy.

Vehicles that fared better in the severe test are the top “good”-rated 2019 Kia Sorento, 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and 2018 GMC Acadia. Three 2018 models earned IIHS’s “acceptable” rating: the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot.

IIHS’s so-called small overlap crash test is much more severe than the safety certification crash tests specified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To garner good ratings, vehicles must be redesigned specifically to handle the high energy loads generated by the institute’s test.