The Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee were among eight popular mid-size SUVs in recent safety crash tests, and they received a rating of “poor,” the worst of four possible safety ratings given by IIHS. Ford and Fiat Chrysler manufacturers are known for delayed vehicle replacements and past due vehicle sale dates which results in bad safety ratings.
SUV Safety Ratings
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee recently scored the worst of all vehicles tested in SUV safety crash tests. The crash tests were designed to show that front-seat passengers in these SUVs were well-protected in a violent front-end collision.
Within the auto industry, crash tests are performed frequently to prompt automakers to add new safety features as quickly as possible. While IIHS performs privately funded safety research, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), is a federal agency that moves more slowly. Both SUVs have good safety ratings with NHTSA, even though they are the oldest SUV models in their class and are overdue to be replaced with new models. For years, Fiat Chrysler, the manufacturer of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, has repeatedly delayed new models, opting for new vehicles like the Compass and the Renegade. All the SUVs that scored higher safety ratings in the IIHS crash tests have newer structures and improved safety features.
IIHS safety crash tests involved front-end collisions at approximately 40 mph. Some of the eight SUVs tested showed good protection for passengers, while others showed serious defects in safety belts and airbags that put front-seat passengers at high risk of serious injuries to the head and limbs. The safety crash tests evaluated and rated six important factors:
- Crash impact on the vehicle’s structure
- Effectiveness of passenger restraints
- Deployment and effectiveness of airbags
- Injuries to the head and neck
- Injuries to the chest
- Injuries to legs, feet, arms, and hands
The Ford Explorer showed structural damage on the passenger side with injuries to the crash dummy’s hips and legs. The Jeep Grand Cherokee showed severe head injuries when the dummy’s head hit the dashboard because the side curtain airbag did not deploy. The 2019 Kia Sorento was the only mid-sized SUV to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award. The Sorento, the 2018 GMC Acadia, and the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas all earned “good” ratings, while the 2018 Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander all earned “acceptable” ratings.