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 test www.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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Jeep has begun teasing its newest three-row SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Instagram

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It's wood-paneled sides, cavernous interior, go-anywhere capability. It was the bee's knees. Now those vintage models are a collector's item. Soon, it will be reborn.

A new teaser from Jeep simply states, "Grand" and the definition "magnificent or striking in appearance, size, or style". While AutomotiveMap is pretty sure that the teaser is for the return of the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep also has a redo of the Grand Cherokee and a few other things in its sights. Perhaps this is a BOGO (or three or four) teaser.

A Jeep product presentation for investors earlier this year detailed the forthcoming model rollout, including modifications to the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It states that a new three-row Jeep E-Segment model is coming in the first quarter of 2021. Separately it lists the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as coming in the second quarter of 2021 followed by the next-generation Grand Cherokee.

All the models are scheduled to have some level of electrification (product plans say PHEV, which would be on-par with the new PHEV Compass, Renegade, and Wrangler offerings) as well as an advanced level of autonomy (don't expect anything too revolutionary here) and connectivity.

The new Wagoneer full-size SUV that Jeep is debuting is expected to compete directly with the Chevrolet Suburban. The Suburban was redesigned for the 2021 model year and, in addition to a bevy of tech updates, the model has significantly expanded its third-row legroom.

Product plants show that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are different vehicles. Not much is known for sure about the two models, but rumors are rampant. One that seems to have sticking power is that the Grand Wagoneer will have finer appointments than the Wagoneer, which could be designed to be more off-road-ready.

The Grand Cherokee is going to be a two-row SUV built on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The most mysterious model is the three-row E-Segment model that Jeep has said is coming. E-Segment models are typically large, showy flagships - sometimes large cars, but other times wagons. Jeep has also said that an electrified version of the Wrangler is on the way. Does A +B = C? Only time will tell.

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The Jeep Gladiator Farout pushes the boundaries of glad

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The new Jeep Gladiator Farout concept combines a passion for overlanding with the company's diesel engine. The model, originally intended to debut as part of this year's Moab Easter Jeep Safari (which was cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic) is a step further than the Jeep Wayout concept from the 2019 Jeep Safari event.

"Although we didn't get to celebrate in Moab this year with our latest round of concept vehicles, we're pleased to introduce the Jeep Farout concept today as a vehicle that blends Gladiator EcoDiesel's fuel efficiency with an area of features fans of overlanding will love," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. "Building on the popularity of last year's Gladiator Wayout concept, and as overlanding continues to grow in popularity, this year's Farout concept is another opportunity to gather feedback from our passionate customer base."

Jeep Gladiator Farout The model has a large tent that sleeps four.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Farout concept is extreme, pushing the limits of how a Gladiator can be equipped. On top is a tent that measures 16-feet long by 7.5-feet tall. It can sleep up to four. At the back is a shell whose interior is wood-lined with soft ambient lighting, a refrigerator and stove, storage racks, built-in seats, and table space. The cab features dark smoke blue leather with orange stitching, and plaid flannel seat inserts.

At the heart of the model is Jeep's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, which achieves 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Engine start-stop technology is standard. Jeep recently added the engine to its Gladiator lineup for the 2021 model year. It is already available in the Wrangler.

The exterior of the model is painted "Earl" with chartreuse accents on the hood, rear tailgate tow hooks, springs, badging, and shocks.

Jeep has boosted the Gladiator with a two-inch lift kit, 17-inch matte charcoal rims, 37-inch mud-terrain tires, and a modified Gladiator Rubicon steel bumper equipped with a 12,000-pound Warn winch. There's also custom front and rear rock rails and Fox performance shocks.

The truck's integrated roof rack allows for additional hauling space should the need to bring home a souvenir arise.

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