The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) may institute passenger-side frontal crash testing as part of its Top Safety Pick criteria after results from tests on smaller SUVs showed that passengers were at greater risk.
The institute performed 40-mph passenger-side small overlap tests on seven smaller SUVs with good driver-side small overlap ratings. Only one of the vehicles, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, performed at a level that would merit a good rating, while the others were poor to acceptable.
Other vehicles tested included the 2015 Buick Encore, 2015 Honda CR-V, 2015 Mazda CX-5, 2014 Nissan Rogue, 2015 Subaru Forester, and 2015 Toyota RAV-4.
Small overlap crashes pose a challenge because they bypass a typical vehicle's main front structure. Since the test was introduced, 13 manufacturers have made structural changes to 97 vehicles. Of these, nearly three-quarters earned a good rating after the changes.
During the small overlap frontal test, a vehicle travels at 40 mph toward a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier. Twenty-five percent of the total width of the vehicle strikes the barrier on the driver side.