In a study released today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicated that it may add a passenger-side small overlap test rating to its crashworthiness assessments.
The small overlap test was designed to reproduce the effects of the front corner of a vehicle making impact with another vehicle, tree or utility pole. Since its introduction in 2012, the IIHS reports that 13 manufacturers introduced structural changes to 97 vehicles, resulting in the majority earning good ratings.
However, in tests recently conducted on seven small crossovers, the IIHS determined that the the level of protection did not extend to the passenger compartment.
While all seven models received the top IIHS rating of “good” on driver-side tests, only the Hyundai Tucson earned a rating of “good” for the passenger side. Among the remaining crossovers, the 2015 Buick Encore, 2015 Honda CR-V and 2015 Mazda CX-5 were given “acceptable” ratings, the 2014 Subaru Forester and 2014 Nissan Rogue were rated “marginal” and the 2015 Toyota RAV4 was designated as “poor.”
Despite the fact that the IIHS study was limited to crossovers, the group believes that the results will apply to other segments and is encouraging manufacturers to offer comparable levels of protection for passengers.
The Institute maintains that passenger-side small overlap ratings could be introduced as early as next year and become a requirement by 2018.