They are popular but are they safe? The results of the latest safety tests of nine midsize S-U-V's are in and only one earned the title as best overall performer.
From the front, side and rear, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put nine midsize SUV's through the most common crashes. In the end, only one vehicle earned a good rating -the highest possible in each category. It was the redesigned 2009 Nissan Murano. However, there was one set of results testers were not expecting.
Three of the SUV's earned marginal or poor ratings in side impact tests. Those vehicles were the 2008 Kia Sorento and Jeep Liberty and the four door Wrangler. All of them, the Institute says, failing to provide good chest and abdomen protection in side crashes. The Liberty and Wrangler were also among 7 vehicles that scored marginal to poor ratings in rear crash tests. The rear impact tests look at how well your head restraints protect you in a collision.
Chrysler which makes both the Wrangler and Jeep Liberty defends its vehicles saying "No single test can determine a vehicle's overall safety performance and other tests and features make the vehicles safe."
Kia responded by saying in separate tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the
Sorento "received a five star crash rating and that Kia's vehicles meet or exceed all Federal Safety Standards." But despite some poor ratings, the Insurance Institute says overall, the safety of SUV's is improving.
Bottom line, before you buy, do your research. You can get the complete test results by logging onto iihs.org