New crash test results bring mixed reviews for mid-size SUVs

ARLINGTON, Va. (MEDIA GENERAL) – In a new round of tests that crashed seven popular mid-size SUVs, the Nissan Murano came out on top. The tests were conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Seven 2015 models were crashed in what’s called “small overlap” tests. These tests replicate what happens when the front corner of the SUV hits another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of the SUV’s front end on the driver’s side hits a rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour.

The IIHS says these tests are more difficult than the head-on crashes done by the government or the moderate overlap tests it has always conducted. According to the IIHS, it’s easier for the driver’s compartment to collapse in these tests.

This round the Nissan Murano earned the best rating of “good” and gained the label of a “Top Safety Pick” by IIHS. The Ford Flex also earned a “Top Safety Pick” award and a rating of “acceptable.”

The Jeep Wrangler 4-Door also earned the top rating of “good.” However, because of its “marginal” protection in side and rear crashes, according to IIHS, and its lack of a fixed roof, it’s not a recommended choice.

The Hyundai Sante Fe, Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Durango all received “marginal” ratings.

“The (Dodge) Journey is the worst performer in the group and a classic example of poor small overlap protection,” reported IIHS. The driver’s compartment did not hold up in the test. It received a rating of “poor.”

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