The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recently updated its testing for front crash prevention, and small SUVs overall performed badly. Of the 10 SUVs tested, only one passed with flying colors, and four got Poor ratings. Let’s take a closer look.

What is the new front crash prevention test?

Previously, the front crash prevention was only tested at speeds up to 25 MPH. In 2022, all the vehicles tested got a Superior rating. However, real-world data showed the systems were less successful at preventing crashes at higher speeds and when motorcycles or semis were involved.

So, the new test includes trial runs at 31, 37 and 43 MPH and includes both motorcycles and semis in addition to passenger car targets. Points are awarded warning indicators as well as speed reduction.

Winner and losers

The biggest winner is the 2023-2024 Subaru Forester, which avoided collisions with passenger cars at all test speeds, avoided hitting the motorcycle at 31 and 37 MPH and had appropriately timed warning alerts.

On the flip side, the biggest losers were the 2023-2024 Chevy Equinox, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander and Volkswagen Taos – all of which got Poor ratings. IIHS points out that the Equinox, for example, did OK with passenger cars and semis but failed to give warning and barely reduced speeds in motorcycle tests.

The full results for the vehicles tested:

iihs front crash prevention results

Screen grab of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety front crash prevention results.

The bottom line

Though these tests have gotten stricter in the last couple years, in light of the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration’s new final rule on automatic emergency braking that takes will require vehicles to come to a complete stop at even higher speeds, we anticipate the IIHS test will get even stricter in the next couple years. That definitely doesn’t bode well for most small SUVs, which can’t pass the current test.

Editor’s note: Featured image is a screen grab from the IIHS video on the new front crash prevention test.

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