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 plug-in hybrid SUV

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe starts at $59,495

The Grand Cherokee 4xe is premium, inside and out.

Jeep/Stellantis

Last year, Jeep electrified the Wrangler, its most iconic model, with an innovative plug-in hybrid powertrain (PHEV). Not long after, the brand announced a similar version of the Grand Cherokee. The upscale electrified off-roader offers plenty of standard tech and features, solid safety equipment, and 25 miles of all-electric range. Today, Jeep announced pricing for the SUV, which will start arriving in dealers this spring.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe The 4xe powertrain delivers up to 25 miles of all electric range. Jeep/Stellantis

Pricing for the 4xe lineup starts at:

  • Grand Cherokee 4xe: $59,495
  • Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe: $64,280
  • Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe: $67,555
  • Grand Cherokee Summit 4xe: $71,615
  • Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4xe: $76,095
The Grand Cherokee 4xe comes with a turbocharged 2.0-,item inline-four that combines with two electric motors for a total output of 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The 4xe powertrain includes plug-in hybrid technology, which enables all-electric driving. In the Grand Cherokee, there's up to 25 miles of electric range, which could enable a completely gas-free ownership experience for people with short commutes. Once the electric range is exhausted the vehicle functions like a normal hybrid, and the batteries must be recharged to replenish range.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe The Grand Cherokee joins the Wrangler 4xe in Jeep's electrified lineup.Jeep/Stellantis

Fortunately, the 4xe's premium starting price buys a premium SUV, even at the base level. Standard features include Capri leather upholstery, a 10.1-inch touchscreen and 10.25-inch passenger display. A dual-pane panoramic moonroof and heated power seats are also standard. A full suite of advanced safety systems come standard as well. All 4xe trims come with full-speed forward collision warnings, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts, LED headlights, and more.

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Ford just announced specs for the new hardcore off-roader.

Ford

After years of speculation over the Bronco's return, Ford finally pushed the revived SUV to market last year. The rumor mill immediately kicked back into action with speculation of a higher-powered Raptor version of the Bronco to match Ford's F-150 Raptor here in the U.S. We've seen teases and a short film on the SUV, but today, The Blue Oval announced specs for what will surely be a highly desirable new vehicle in 2022 and beyond.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor The Bronco Raptor gets upgraded cooling and engine tuning to handle high-temperature operation.Ford

The Bronco Raptor gets an exclusive twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 400 horsepower, which is a big improvement over the standard SUV's V6 that makes an already healthy 330 horsepower. Four-wheel drive and a ten-speed automatic gearbox are standard. Ford says the Raptor also comes with a new towing mode that allows a max tow rating of 4,500 pounds - a 1,000-pound improvement over the base Bronco. Trail Control, trail Turn Assist, and Trail One-Pedal driving are also present here.

The Raptor gets seven of the standard Bronco's G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) driving modes, including a new Baja Mode that works with the engine's turbo system to reduce lag and improve performance during high-speed runs in desert temperatures. An active exhaust allows four selectable sound modes, including normal, sport, quiet, and Baja, and the Raptor's intercooler helps keep operating temperatures at reasonable levels when running in hot weather.

Using the Bronco's modular design, Ford gave the Raptor unique front and rear quarter panels, fender flares, and door appliqués. The new body components add 9.8 inches to the Raptor's width, and removable running boards help improve rock crawling abilities. Model-exclusive amber LED running lights accent the Raptor's front end, and Raptor logos set the hardcore model apart from its "lesser" counterpart.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Amber LEDs and special badging designate the much-upgraded Raptor model.Ford

Inside, the Bronco Raptor gets a 12-inch digital gauge cluster with configurable view for vehicle performance and other information. Black marine-grade vinyl seats and rubberized flooring are standard. Orange accents on the dash vents, door netting, and steering wheel help break up the all-black interior, and Ford offers a synthetic suede upholstery upgrade for buyers wanting a little more comfort with their capable off-roader. A 12-inch infotainment touchscreen and 360-degree camera system are also standard.

Bronco Raptor hopefuls can start placing orders in March, but be aware that there will be a wait involved for everyone. Ford says that the majority of 2022 Bronco Raptors will go to existing reservation holders based on their reservation timestamp. It's worth noting that many 2021 Bronco buyers are still waiting for the SUVs, which are being converted into 2022 orders, so the wait time for the Raptor could be severe for anyone without a standing reservation.

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