The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its ratings for several small crossovers.
According to the organization, the BMW X1, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Jeep Compass and Mitsubishi Outlander all earned good ratings in the passenger side small overlap front test. While all of the models received a good rating, the X1 and Outlander performed slightly better as they both received good ratings for “passenger injury measures” while the Compass, Equinox and Terrain only received an acceptable rating for “lower leg & foot” injuries.
Unfortunately, there’s where the good news ends as the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned a marginal rating and the Ford Escape was rated poor. The IIHS said both crossovers allowed too much intrusion into the passenger compartment and both models had side curtain airbags that failed to deploy. The latter issue caught the organization by surprise as senior research engineer Becky Mueller said “That’s not something we expect to see after so many years of crash testing.”
As you can see in the footage, the Escape performed poorly in the test and the IIHS says “Intrusion measured 10 inches (25.4 cm) at the upper door-hinge pillar, compared with 5 inches (12.7 cm) in the driver side test.” The passenger side door sill was pushed 4 inches (10.1 cm) laterally and readings from the crash dummy suggest a front seat passenger could have received hip injuries if this was a real-world crash.
While it sounds odd that the driver side would perform better than the passenger side, the IIHS says Ford reinforced the structure on 2017 and later Escape models to improve occupant protection on the driver’s side. However, they didn’t make the same changes to the passenger side.
Mueller says decisions such as this are one of the reasons why the IIHS began conducting the passenger side small overlap front test. As she explained, “Manufacturers shouldn’t shortchange protection for front-seat passengers.”