Small SUVs have been found to be very vulnerable to head-on collisions, new research has found.
There have been 76 frontal crash tests carried out in 18 different model years on mini, compact and compact SUV, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Results on the vehicles were released ahead of new, tougher government regulation that could change how new SUVs are designed.
New, tougher standards could mean the end of small SUVs
Previous tests found that the overlap design of most SUVs makes them vulnerable to head-on collisions.
The amount of rear-end damage done in a frontal crash can come from one vehicle’s bumper or inside the crossover roof, IIHS said.
Following the tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) identified the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Nissan Frontier, Honda CR-V, Jeep Compass, Mini Paceman, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Rav4, and Honda HR-V as vehicles in need of new, safer body designs.
The IIHS said it found that small SUVs were much more vulnerable to head-on collisions than other vehicles in their class because their entire sloped roofs do not meet the front crash test rules set in 2015.
Four of the vehicles hit by an impact had sustained heavy damage to the roof, including a stall and skid marks showing where the roof separated from the body, a ride height gap higher than needed, and rear end that could not be controlled for extended periods after impact.
Also identified as a failure was the overlap head-on crash test, which places a bumper-like device in the left rear corner of the crossover at least 2.5 inches from the curb. The vehicle should lose control with 4 in front of it.
These collisions lead to front corner intrusion into the opposite vehicle and also result in extensive roof damage. The 55 models in this test had repair or death rates of 29% to 41%.
In contrast, crashes into side walls were less likely to cause serious injury, with the construction making it much harder for the sides of the SUV to damage the other vehicles.