June 19, 2024
SUVs & Crossovers

According to the IIHS, Big SUVs may not be as safe as their size implies

Crash Test Results: SUV Safety Concerns

When it comes to collisions, size isn’t always the best indicator of safety, as shown by recent tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS tested three popular body-on-frame SUV models and found that some of these larger vehicles struggle to protect second-row occupants.

According to IIHS president David Harkey, “The massive size of these SUVs can provide some added protection in collisions with smaller vehicles, but it also means they pose a greater risk to other road users. The downside of their size is the increased force involved when they crash into a solid object like a tree or barrier.”

The tested models included the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, and Jeep Wagoneer. Out of these, the Wagoneer received a 2024 Top Safety Pick award but fell short of the Top Safety Pick+ rating. The Tahoe and Expedition did not receive either distinction.

In the IIHS tests, the Wagoneer achieved a Good rating in small overlap and side-impact tests, with a Marginal rating in the moderate overlap test. Headlights on higher trim levels received a Good rating, while basic versions got an Acceptable rating. The forward collision warning system and seat belt chime also received ratings.

The Tahoe received an Acceptable rating in the small overlap test, a Poor rating in the moderate overlap test, and a Good rating in the side-impact test. The Expedition scored a Marginal rating in two tests and a Good rating in the side-impact test, with additional ratings for headlights and safety systems.

The IIHS expressed particular concern for the safety of second-row occupants, noting the risk of various injuries in all three SUVs. Airbag issues were also identified during the tests, with Ford responding to the results by highlighting the Expedition’s safety ratings.


Q: What are the key safety concerns highlighted in the IIHS tests?

A: The IIHS raised concerns about the protection of second-row occupants and identified airbag-related issues during the tests.

Q: How did the tested SUV models perform in crash tests?

A: The Wagoneer received a Top Safety Pick award, while the Tahoe and Expedition did not achieve this rating.


While larger SUVs may offer some advantages in collisions with smaller vehicles, the latest IIHS tests highlight concerns about the protection of second-row occupants in these vehicles. Manufacturers should continue to prioritize safety features and performance in all areas of crash testing to ensure the well-being of all passengers.

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