In an evaluation of nine midsize SUVs by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain are the only two to earn a good rating in a tough crash test introduced in 2012.
The test, which replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another car or object, continues to challenge manufacturers. Of nine midsize SUVs tested, three are rated poor, and three are marginal.
Both the Equinox and Terrain earn the institute's highest honor, the "Top Safety Pick Plus," along with the Toyota Highlander, a midsize SUV whose acceptable rating in the front-corner crash test was announced in December. To qualify for Top Safety Pick Plus, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating in that test and good ratings in four other crash tests, as well as a basic or higher rating for front crash prevention.
"SUVs have gotten much safer over the past few generations, but some are better than others at providing comprehensive front crash protection," IIHS Executive Vice President David Zuby said in a press statement.
The other midsize SUVs and their ratings in the front-corner crash test are:
- Jeep Grand Cherokee: Marginal
- Toyota 4Runner: Marginal
- Ford Explorer: Marginal
- Kia Sorento: Poor
- Mazda CX-9: Poor
- Honda Piilot: Poor
In the test, a quarter of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph. The test is tougher to pass than the head-on crash tests conducted by the federal government or the institute's other frontal crash test, which shows what happens when a larger portion of the front end strikes a barrier. When only the front corner crashes, the energy bypasses the main structures of the vehicle's front-end crush zone. As a result, the occupant compartment can collapse and cause severe injuries.