Many people buy SUVs as their primary family vehicle, and automakers are equipping SUVs with technology and entertainment features for backseat passengers. But it seems that what comes next is further investment in rear-occupant safety.according to Road Safety Insurance Association“Most midsize SUVs have inadequate frontal crash protection for rear seat occupants.” This is based on a new test to evaluate rear seat crash safety.
Studies show that automakers’ safety innovations have focused too much on front-seat passengers. The IIHS notes that people sitting in the back seat are 46% more likely to die in a crash than those sitting in the front. This led the organization to develop a new test.
Engineers place a child-sized dummy behind the driver’s seat and use sensors to determine if potentially injurious forces have been applied to different parts of the body. The testers add paint to the dummy’s head to determine whether the vehicle’s headrests are protected from impact and to measure whether the seatbelts hold the passenger properly. IIHS then subjected each SUV to a standard medium overlap front his crash and examined the results.
Of the 13 SUVs tested, only 4 received a “good” score. Ford Explorer, Mustang Mach E, Subaru Ascent and Tesla Model Y. “Bad” marks: Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano.
The Wrangler’s rear lap belt moved upwards during the crash, and although the SUV doesn’t have side curtain airbags in the rear, the CX-9, Grand Cherokee, Palisade, and Pilot’s seat belt tension was too high. This is contrary to most SUV front seat scores, which were stronger overall, even though the Wrangler’s driver-side airbag didn’t deploy in our tests.
The organization has just started testing this, so it’s not included in the current assessment, but it may appear in the future. IIHS also recently updated its side impact tests with faster speeds, significantly reducing the number of 2023 Top Safety Pick awards. At the same time, the IIHS has raised concerns about safety issues related to the extreme weight of electric vehicles, compelling its update. Test equipment for effective crash testing of heavier vehicles.