The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is releasing its 2023 crash test results and the EVs are disappointing. Only two SUVs have earned Top Safety Pick+ ratings. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and Tesla’s Model Y topped the midsize SUV category out of 13 eligible. The IIHS says the SUV lineup has “inadequate forward collision protection for passengers seated in the back.”
What other midsize SUVs have won this IIHS safety category?
Additionally, the Mustang Mach-E was the only midsize SUV to earn top scores in all IIHS crash categories. The Tesla Model Y shares an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, but only scored an acceptable grade on “Rear Passenger Restraints and Kinetics.” While drivers are afforded the safest protections, IIHS President David Harkey says “only a few extend that level of safety to the back seat.”
Aside from the Mach-E and Model Y, the gasoline-powered Ford Explorer and Subaru Ascent were the only others in the IIHS safety category to receive a “Good” grade for safety. A “Marginal” safety rating went to the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas. On the lower end, the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, four-door Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-9, and Nissan Murano received a “Poor” rating.
Why have the IIHS safety tests become more stringent?
“Tightening weaknesses in rear seat security is an opportunity to realize big gains in a short amount of time, as solutions that have already proven to work in the front can be successfully adapted for the rear,” said Marcy Edwards, Safety Engineer. IIHS Senior Research. “The four good ratings in this round of testing show that some automakers are already doing this.”
Recently, the IIHS has focused more on rear passenger protection. It has specific metric results from sensors located on the head, neck, chest, abdomen and thigh of the test dummy. O IIHS test also added new tests for side collision protection and pedestrian collision prevention. Its headlight tests are also more rigorous. Part of the reason for the more stringent tests is that in 2022 road deaths increased by the most in 20 years. Pedestrian accidents account for a larger share of this increase than in the past.
How does this year compare to last year?
As a result, the 2023 test evaluated just 28 vehicles, earning a Top Safety Pick+ rating. Last year, 65 vehicles landed in this category. And only 20 vehicles achieved the Top Safety Pick ranking, down from 36 last year. “The number of winners is lower this year because we are challenging automakers to build on the safety gains they have already achieved,” Harkey said. “These models are true standouts in both crash resistance and crash avoidance.”
However, some tests focusing on roof strength, headrest and frontal collision prevention between vehicles improved substantially. So much so, in fact, that the IIHS no longer conducts these tests. So automakers are making improvements, some of which are a result of these IIHS safety tests.