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 |  Jun 08 2010, 1:33 PM

Sometimes, okay just doesn’t cut it. Like when it comes to how well the roof of your midsize SUV holds up in a rollover. New results from the first roof strength tests on midsize SUVs conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that automakers still need to make improvements to these types of vehicles.

Out of 12 midsize SUVs tested, six earned the top rating of good for rollover protection, one came in at acceptable, and the last five earned the second lowest rating of marginal. Making the good grade are the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox (twin GMC Terrain) built after March 2010, Jeep Liberty (twin Dodge Nitro), Toyota Highlander and Venza, as well as the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Kia Sorento. Coming in at an acceptable rating was the 2010 Ford Edge. The midsized SUVs that didn’t fair so well by earning marginal ratings were the Honda Accord Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Endeavor, and Nissan Murano, all 2010 models.

“Midsize SUVs are a big group so we’re testing them in stages,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “First results show that automakers are making progress in rollover protection, but it’s disappointing that a new design like the Crosstour didn’t perform better.”

Institute research shows occupants in vehicles that roll benefit from stronger roofs, and the IIHS has, in turn, based their rollover rating system on this information. In order for a vehicle to be rated as good, their roof must be more than twice as strong as the minimum required under the current federal safety standard. A rollover is one of the most serious crashes to be involved in, and this test is designed to help drivers pick a vehicle that will best protect them.

Stats show that nearly 10,000 people a year are killed in rollover crashes. These types of crashes are so deadly because as vehicles roll, their roofs hit the ground, deform, and crush. Since stronger roofs crush less, they minimize injury risk from contact with the roof itself.

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]