Despite having changed little since 2003, the Volvo XC90 earned a Good score in the tough small-overlap frontal crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Having scored Good in the Institute’s front-, side-, rear-crash tests, and roof crush tests, the XC90 joins an elite group with Top Safety Pick+ status.
Just yesterday, IIHS announced that the Subaru Impreza hatchback and sedan, and the related Subaru XV Crosstrek, were named Top Safety Pick+ vehicles.
The small offset test has proven a real challenge for vehicles to pass. It simulates a car striking a pole, concentrating the crash forces on just the front driver’s-side corner. According to a 2009 IIHS study, this happens in about a quarter of frontal collisions involving serious or fatal injury to front-seat occupants, even in cars with otherwise good crash protection.
Many of the models that have passed the test have been recently redesigned or fortified. Some, such as the Toyota RAV4, have not earned an acceptable score despite being relative new models. That the XC90 earned a Good score, after being on the market for a full decade, is remarkable. But as sound as it is from a safety perspective, it’s one of our lower-rated SUVs.
Other recently tested vehicles include the all-new Jeep Cherokee, which earned top marks in the IIHS front, side, and rear crashes, along with the roof crush test. The Cherokee has not yet faced the small-overlap frontal crash test.
Introduced in 2012, this test marks new territory for IIHS, as its testing seeks to push manufacturers to produce increasingly safer cars. At this point, there have been enough vehicles tested—more than 60—that we now feel it’s time to remove our recommendation from any vehicle that received a Poor score in the test so we can help consumers choose the safest cars.
As a result of poor results in this small-overlap frontal crash test, we have dropped our recommendations for four popular models: the Audi A4 and Toyota Camry, Prius V, and RAV4.
—Gordon Hard and Jeff Bartlett
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