Some SUVs Don't Hold Up in Side Crash Tests

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s latest round of crash tests focused on midsize SUVs, and most of the vehicles tested didn’t do nearly as well as sedans and similarly sized crossover SUVs. The results will no doubt spark more debate among the bigger-is-safer and the get-your-land-yachts-off-the-road segments of the population.

The common thought is that the bigger the vehicle you’re in, the safer you are in an accident. There have been various studies to back that up that compare the number of road casualties to the types of vehicles involved. What IIHS discovered is that many popular midsize SUVs, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Xterra, Chevy TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7X, rate Marginal side-impact scores. The two Nissan’s did earn Good scores when equipped with optianl side airbags. The others came standard with side airbags. Most of the SUVs tested also didn’t do well in rear crash tests, and none earned a Top Safety Pick award from IIHS.

Interestingly enough, the vehicles tested were truck-based. Car-based crossover SUVs, including the Ford Edge, Subaru Tribeca and Honda Pilot, have gotten IIHS’ Top Safety Pick nod. Check out the full crash results below.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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