In its first year conducting rear seat safety tests on 15 US-market SUVs and crossovers, only two scored a “good” safety rating. And — of course! — the Volvo XC40 was one of them.
Vehicle safety is often cited as one of the most important elements of a new car buyer’s decision, but most people have no idea how limited government crash test data really is — or how easily that system could be gamed. That’s where independent testing bodies like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) come in, conducting more detailed crash tests of their own and finding out things that the “basic,” government-manded tests might miss.
In this case, the IIHS zeroed in on the fact that conventional crash testing usually only considers the safety of the driver, and uses “an average-size man” dummy, with no regard for rear passenger safety. The IIHS’ new test focused on the back seat using a dummy that represented a 12 year old child — and, as a result, they discovered just how un-safe many crossovers and SUVs really can be for kids and passengers!
Who Did What
The new test is called updated moderate overlap test — and, of the 15 vehicles tested, only the Volvo XC40 and Ford Escape protected their back-seat passengers well enough to earn a “good” rating. The Toyota RAV4, meanwhile, was rated acceptable.”
The rest of the list, and their results, are included below:
- Ford Escape – Good
- Volvo XC40 – Good
- Toyota RAV4 – Acceptable
- Audi Q3 – Marginal
- Nissan Rogue – Marginal
- Subaru Forester – Marginal
- Buick Encore – Poor
- Chevrolet Equinox – Poor
- Honda CR-V – Poor
- Honda HR-V – Poor
- Hyundai Tucson – Poor
- Jeep Compass – Poor
- Jeep Renegade – Poor
- Mazda CX-5 – Poor
- Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – Poor
The most disturbing thing about this list, I think, isn’t that vehicles like the Jeep Compass or Chevy Equinox earned “Poor” ratings here. Instead, it’s that almost all of the 15 SUVs tested scored a “good” rating on the old, driver-only tests. That should raise alarm bells, if only because the primary reason so many people buy these vehicles to begin with is that they have kids to haul around in the back seat.
Meanwhile, Volvo’s success — after nearly 100 years of advocating for improved vehicle safety — comes as no surprise. “At Volvo Cars, we have always designed and built our cars to our own exacting safety standards based on our knowledge studying real world crashes,” said Thomas Broberg, acting head of the Volvo Cars Safety Center. “To have our work validated by the experts at the IIHS in their newest test adds to the pride we take in our safety focus for every vehicle we produce.”
As for Ford? The Blue Oval was Volvo’s parent company until it spun off the Swedish brand to China’s Geely group in 2010. Clearly they learned quite a bit about safety from their Swedish siblings, and didn’t forget in the intervening years.
Back to Volvo, the latest IIHS test result continues a trend reinforces a “record” set in April of this year, when Volvo Cars achieved the highest possible rating from IIHS for every one of its models tested, including plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles. I’m “Volvo Jo,” however, so feel free to scroll on down to the comments section at the bottom of the page and tell me why I’m anti Tesla or something.
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