Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee show safety flaws in IIHS testing

June 12 (UPI) — The Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee have received the worst crash ratings in the latest tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with the Honda Pilot also scoring poorly.

The test results, released Tuesday, found a range of risks for the Explorer and Grand Cherokee, including structural deficiencies, airbag failure and potentially serious head injuries.

Out of eight 2018 sport-utility models tested, six earned a “good” or “acceptable” rating for protection in an impact at the front passenger corner of the vehicle. The Explorer and Grand Cherokee were rated “poor.”

Since the IIHS began rating vehicles for safety in this range six years ago, automakers have made improvements, but passenger-side safety is still inadequate in some models, the IIHS said.

“Although some vehicles in this group offer very good protection, in other models, the airbags, safety belts and structure showed serious deficiencies,” said IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “In those SUVs, a front-seat passenger would be at risk of injuries to the head, hip or leg in a right-side small overlap front crash.”

The Explorer experienced a total structural collapse in the testing, the IIHS said, which could result in hip and leg injuries. The crash-test dummy in the Jeep hit the dashboard hard and was ejected from the vehicle when the side curtain airbag failed and the door opened.

The Honda Pilot also fared poorly in testing, the IIHS said, as its dummy’s head slid off the front airbag and hit the dashboard. But because of the Pilot’s good structural performance, it earned an “acceptable” rating, along with the Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder.

Three of the SUVs — GMC Acadia, Kia Sorento and Volkswagen Atlas — earn a “good” rating, with the Sorento earning the Institute’s highest award, the Top Safety Pick.