The redesigned Subaru Forester is the only small SUV out of 13 tested to earn a top score of Good in the new small overlap crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both the Forester and the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, which received an Acceptable score, earn the Institute's Top Safety Pick+ award.
Six vehicles earned a marginal score in the overlap test, including the BMW X1, Honda CR-V, Jeep Wrangler (2-door), Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, and Volkswagen Tiguan. The Buick Encore, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Patriot, and Kia Sportage all earned Poor scores.
For this test, vehicles careen into a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph, replicating the impact with a tree or pole. The simulated crash involves just 25 percent of the width of the vehicle, concentrating the force on the driver-side front corner. (To learn more about crash tests, read our primer "Crash test 101.")
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To reward good performers, the IIHS added a "+" to their coveted Top Safety Pick award for those models that earn a Good or Acceptable in this rigorous test. To qualify for a Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn Good ratings in at least four out of five of their tests, which include the moderate front overlap crash, side impact, rollover, and evaluations of how well seat and head restraints protect occupants from neck injuries in rear impacts. Plus, the car has to earn no less than an Acceptable in the small front overlap crash test. (Watch previous crash tests.)
Nine of the 13 SUVs tested earn the Top Safety Pick award (without the +) by receiving good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear tests, regardless of their ratings in the small overlap front test. They include the BMW X1, Buick Encore, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, and the 2014 Patriot.
One notable small SUV missing from the list is the 2013 Toyota RAV4. It earns the Top Safety Pick award, but the Institute didn't run it through the small overlap test yet because Toyota asked for a delay so they could make changes to the RAV4 to improve performance.
The Forester and Outlander Sport join these previous models that have earned the Top Safety Pick+ designation: Acura TL, Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord coupe and sedan, Honda Civic coupe and sedan, Kia Optima, Lincoln MKZ, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Suzuki Kizashi, Volkswagen Passat, Volvo S60, and Volvo XC60.
A full Subaru Forester road test will be published next Tuesday, May 21.
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