The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its crash-test findings for thirteen compact crossovers and SUVs, and just two – the 2014 Subaru Forester and the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport – have earned the agency's Top Safety Pick+ rating.
In this round of testing, the agency crashed a whole slew of vehicles: the 2013 Buick Encore, the 2013 BMW X1, the 2013 Ford Escape, the 2013 Honda CR-V, the 2013 Hyundai Tucson, the 2013 Jeep Patriot, the 2013 Jeep Wrangler two-door, the 2013 Kia Sportage, the 2013 Mazda CX-5, the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the 2013 Nissan Rogue, the 2014 Subaru Forester, and the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan. With the exception of the Subaru and the Mitsubishi, all of the vehicles received either Poor or Marginal ratings in the agency's new small overlap test. The Subaru Forester scored Good, but the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, however, only scored an Acceptable rating.
The reason why the Subaru and the Mitsubishi were the only models in this group to achieve the Top Safety Pick+ rating was because of its robust body structure. The Forester is all-new for 2014, and Subaru's engineers designed the crossover to score well on the IIHS' new crash test. Unlike some other vehicles in the test – like the Jeep Patriot and Nissan Rogue – the Forester and Outlander Sport's A-pillar stayed intact and the body structure did not intrude into the cabin.
However, just because the crossovers didn't fare well in the small overlap test did not mean that they were deemed unsafe; nine of the 13 tested vehicles were rated Top Safety Picks (without the "+"). The Top Safety Pick cars from this group are the BMW X1, the Buick Encore, the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V, the Hyundai Tucson, the Kia Sportage, the Mazda CX-5, and the Volkswagen Tiguan. The all-new 2013 Toyota RAV4 also earns a Top Safety Pick rating, but was not included in this testing because "Toyota asked for the delay so it could make changes to the RAV4 to improve performance in the [small overlap] test," according to the IIHS. 2014 Jeep Patriots qualify as Top Safety Picks, as does the 2013 model when equipped with the optional side torso airbags. The Honda CR-V and the Kia Sportage (when equipped with all-wheel drive) also received five-star-overall crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.