Crash Testing

Jeep Wrangler tips over during crash testing, IIHS: 'Not an acceptable outcome'

The Jeep Wrangler tipped twice in crash testing.

Photo courtesy of Insurance Institute of Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) routinely crash tests vehicles from every mass market manufacturer. This time, the results are extraordinary. The 2019-2020 Jeep Wrangler four-door variant toppled over during the test.

When IIHS crash tests a vehicle, they often test numerous types of scenarios including front overlap and side impact crashes. Other elements of the testing include evaluating the vehicle's roof strength, headlights, and front crash prevention technology.

The test the Jeep failed twice is the driver-side small overlap crash test. This type of test primarily effects a vehicle's outer edges, which are typically not protected by traditional crush-zone structures. The impact of these incidents effects the front wheel, suspension, and firewall. According to IIHS data, 25 percent of all crashes are of this variety.

2019 Jeep Wrangler 4-door driver-side small overlap IIHS crash testwww.youtube.com

The midsize SUV was evaluated in three separate driver-side small overlap crash tests, one by Fiat Chrysler, the parent company of Jeep, as part of the Institute's verification test program and two at the Institute's Vehicle Research Center. In the two test conducted at the IIHS testing location, the Wrangler, "rolled onto its passenger side after striking the test barrier," according to the organization.

That result does not tell the whole story. IIHS shares,

"The Wrangler performed well by the normal metrics used to evaluate performance in the driver-side small overlap test. The driver's space was maintained well, and the dummy's movement was well-controlled. However, the partial rollover presents an additional injury risk beyond what the standard criteria are intended to measure. A vehicle tipping onto its side is not an acceptable outcome for a frontal crash, and as a result, the Wrangler's overall rating was downgraded to marginal."

A release by IIHS notes that in the test that Fiat Chrysler submitted to the organization, the Wrangler did not tip over. During product development, it is not uncommon for automakers to crash test their forthcoming models (full or partial) several times to ensure that they meet internal and external crashworthiness standards.

According to IIHS, "Rollovers — even partial ones like those that occurred in the Wrangler tests — are especially dangerous crashes, in part due to the risk of complete or partial ejection." The Wrangler has a roof and doors that can be removed. It does not have side curtain airbags, which are designed to deploy in a rollover to keep occupants inside in other vehicles. The Wrangler is not required to have these airbags because of its removable roof.

Following the first IIHS-conducted test, Fiat Chrysler questioned the validity of IIHS's testing, concerned that the outcome was related to the way that engineers attached the vehicle to the crash propulsion system. IIHS agreed to conduct a second test using a different attachment method that was approved by Fiat Chrysler. That test had the same result.

In other aspects of testing, the Wrangler has earned more positive ratings. It scored a "good" in moderate overlap front, side, roof and head restraint evaluations. Its available vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system that earned a superior rating.

However, the SUV's base halogen headlights and premium LED projector headlights have earned "poor" ratings..

Jeep redesigned the Wrangler for the 2018 model year from the ground up. It is widely regarded as a successful redesign from an aesthetics and off-road capability standpoint.

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Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

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Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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