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Small SUV’s Struggle In New Crash Tests

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The structure of the 2014 Subaru Forester, left, held up well in the small overlap front test. The 2012 Nissan Rogue's poor structural performance was more typical of the small SUVs tested.

The structure of the 2014 Subaru Forester, left, held up well in the small overlap front test. The 2012 Nissan Rogue’s poor structural performance was more typical of the small SUVs tested.

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ARLINGTON, VA. (CBS4) – Small SUV’s have been all the rage of the car market in the last few years. From Ford’s Escape to Honda’s CRV and the new Buick Encore, the smaller SUV’s are starting to dominate the road. But how much will they protect you in a crash?

Some new crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway safety raise some questions. The institute has been running vehicles through a small vehicle frontal overlap crash test, simulating what happens when about 25 percent of the vehicle’s front hits an object.

Click Here For More On The IIHS Small SUV Crash Tests

“The bad news is 11 of the 13 did pretty poorly,” said Insurance Institute research Vice President Joe Nolan. “We only have one good performer, and one acceptable performer.”

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport received the “Acceptable” rating. The “Good” rating went to another vehicle made by a smaller Japanese car company.

If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best, look no further than the Subaru Forester. It “aced the test” according to Nolan and scored perfectly across every category the IIHS examined in the most recent testing.

That gives the Subaru Forester the designation of “top safety pick+.” There are now 20 vehicles with that “plus” by their designation. Vehicles that score well in other crash tests, but not the new one, get a designation of “top safety pick.”

Many of the small SUV’s in this test remain top safety picks including the new Buick Encore and the totally redone Honda CRV and Ford Escape. But, Nolan says all could be made safer, if strengthened for this new collision. The Ford Escape, for example, showed some issues that could lead to serious injuries.

Ford said it’s vehicle is safe and that the company would review the IIHS findings in “the context of our current design evaluation.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the purpose of the new test is to make vehicles safer. Institute officials say they believe carmakers will work to build vehicles that can pass the test.

Nolan said that will save lives, and prevent injuries.

“Our analysis shows that about a quarter of all crashes that result in serious injury or fatality are what we call small overlap frontal crashes.”

Click here for complete results of all vehicles.

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