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Some automakers still struggle with most recent IIHS crash test

Jun 12, 2018

Result of passenger side small overlap front crash test for 2018 Ford Explorer
Credit IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says some automakers are still struggling to pass a tough new crash test, but that many lives depend on them getting it right.  

The small overlap front crash test is done to see how well a driver or passenger is protected in a front crash when the side is clipped, either by another car, or an obstruction. 

The Institute's Russ Rader says the crashes are particularly dangerous. Of fatal accidents that happen in a front crash, 25% are small overlaps.

In the most recent round of tests, the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee flunked the test on the passenger side.

"For the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the passenger door came open (during the test,)" says Rader, "which should never happen."

IIHS says the structure of the Explorer was "seriously compromised" during the test.

Rader says the problem may be that Ford and Jeep had already launched the vehicles in 2018, before the test was introduced. Ford says it's making changes so the Explorer can pass the test next time. 

The 2019 Kia Sorento, 2018 Voldswagen Atlas, and 2018 GMC Acadia got the highest rating.

The 2018 Toyota Highlander, 2018 Nissan Pathfinder, and 2018 Honda Pilot got a rating of "acceptable."