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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New compact luxury SUV

2022 Lexus NX gets new tech and PHEV drivetrain

The NX is all-new for 2022.

Lexus

The NX may not be Lexus' most popular SUV – that title goes to the RX – but it's got a lot to offer in a compact package. Lexus redesigned the NX for 2022, and the big stories are its new PHEV powertrain, updated tech, and improved safety features.

The 2022 NX 450h+ is Lexus' first plug-in hybrid vehicle. It's expected to deliver 36 miles all-electric range, 84 MPGe combined, a 0-60 mph time of six seconds. It's joined in the NX lineup by the NX 350h hybrid, which uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two high-torque motor-generators that produce a combined output of 239 horsepower. The NX 350h is capable of returning 39 mpg combined and a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds.

2022 Lexus NX New tech and updated safety features are headline changes for 2022.Lexus

A turbocharged gas engine rounds out the NX powertrain selection. It's a 2.4-liter unit that makes 203 horsepower and 184 horsepower. Surprisingly, it's weaker than both of the hybrid powertrains, and is only capable of a 0-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy lands at 28 mpg combined.

The new NX comes standard with a 9.8-inch touchscreen that employs a new Lexus interface to make interactions smoother and easier. A 14-inch touchscreen is optional, and includes a three-year trial for a bundle of connected services. Lexus offers a new connected smartphone feature that allows drivers to store their vehicle profiles in the cloud and take them to other Lexus vehicles equipped with the tech.

2022 Lexus NX The NX gets a PHEV powertrain option for the first time.Lexus

The Lexus Interface also offers advanced voice controls and a new voice assistant feature. The automaker says that it was designed to recognize natural speech, and uses two microphones with noise cancellation, seat detection, and speaker location capabilities. Drivers can ask for the weather, traffic situations, control the audio system, and more with their voice.

The NX's safety features got a boost for 2022 as well. Standard features now include risk avoidance emergency steer assist, left-turn oncoming vehicle detection and braking, right/left turn oncoming pedestrian detection and braking, and dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management.

2022 Lexus NX F Sport models get sporty interior finishes.Lexus

The 2022 Lexus NX should begin arriving on dealers' lots in December 2021. Pricing for the NX 250 FWD starts at $39,025, which includes a $1,075 destination fee. The range-topping NX 450h+ starts at $56,635.

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The Grand Cherokee gets a plug-in powertrain for the first time.

Jeep

Jeep just announced the all-new fifth-generation 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, featuring a new exterior and interior, updated tech, and class-leading capabilities from its optional engines. However, the big headline here is the new Grand Cherokee 4xe, a plug-in hybrid SUV that follows the Jeep Wrangler into electrified off-roading.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe The 4xe makes all-electric off-roading possible.Jeep

As it did with the Wrangler, Jeep electrified the Grand Cherokee for the new model year. The new 4xe powertrain is available in the Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve trims. It uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine and features an all-electric driving range of 25 miles, fuel economy of 57 MPGe, and a total combined driving range of 440 miles. The powertrain also produces 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe All Grand Cherokee models get a more upscale interior for the 2022 model year.Jeep

With the water and terrain involved in off-roading, an electric motor and plug-in components could be a recipe for disaster, but Jeep took steps to protect sensitive parts of the drivetrain and vehicle. All high-voltage electronics are seats and are waterproof, and Jeep says that the Grand Cherokee 4xe can ford water of up to 24 inches in depth. The battery also comes with its own heating and cooling system to hold it in the ideal temperature range for optimum performance. The powertrain delivers impressive capability, as Jeep says a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe was able to tackle the Rubicon Trail on electric power only.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe The 2022 Grand Cherokee gets updated tech and safety features.Jeep

The 4xe's charging port is located on the front fender to allow easier charging in tight spots. LED indicators show the charging status and there's an LED battery monitor inside the vehicle on the instrument panel. Three driving modes allow the driver to select the right vehicle and powertrain behavior for the situation. Hybrid mode combines both the electric motor and gas engine, and balances the two for the best fuel efficiency and performance. Electric mode operates on electric power only until the battery's power is depleted. eSave prioritizes the gas engine to preserve battery power. As with all PHEVs, the Grand Cherokee 4xe functions like a traditional hybrid once the battery's power is mostly depleted.


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