19 of 20 Small SUVs Crash Tested by IIHS Did Not Earn a Good Score

2021 Buick Encore
In real-world side crashes, stronger structures are linked to higher survival rates. While all 20 small SUVs received Good scores for their structures in the original test, only eight earn Good ratings for structural integrity in the new evaluation. General Motors

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has introduced a more comprehensive side crash test to address concerns regarding high speed crashes. The new test measures driver and rear passenger injury levels on their head and neck, chest and pelvis, general head protection along with overall structure and cage safety.

In its inaugural run of the second-generation test with 2020-21 model year vehicles, only one small SUV to receive a Good rating. Scroll down to see the full list.

Nearly all current vehicles pass the original side impact test, which was introduced in 2003. The 20 that were tested using the new method all received Good ratings in first-gen testing.

"Obviously, these results aren't great, but they're in line with what we expected when we adopted this more stringent test," said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller, whose research formed the foundation for the new test protocol.

All of the vehicles tested were of the 2021 model year, with the exception of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross which skipped 2021, so the 2020 was tested. These ratings will carry over to the 2022 models except for the Jeep Compass and the Hyundai Tucson, which underwent a design and engineering refresh and redesign, respectively.

In a study conducted by IIHS in 2011 that analyzed 10 years worth of crash data, it was found that a driver of a vehicle with a Good side crash test rating is 70 percent less likely to die in a left-side crash than a driver of a vehicle with a poor rating.

In 2019 side impact crashes accounted for nearly 23 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.

In order to address those numbers, the updated side test was created. Similar in design to the original test, the updated side rating is based on how well the occupant compartment structure holds its shape during the crash, injury measures collected from dummies positioned in the driver seat and the rear seat behind the driver, and a supplemental measure of how well the airbags protect the heads of the two crash test dummies.

The test dummy used in both seating positions represents a small woman or 12-year-old child. In using this size dummy, the new test revealed wide discrepancies of protection in small SUVs for the pelvis and chest.

The new test uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the impacting vehicle. The new barrier weighs 4,180 pounds — almost the weight of today's midsize SUVs — and strikes the test vehicle at 37 mph. In the original test, a 3,300-pound barrier traveling at 31 mph was used.

Together, those two changes mean it involves 82 percent more energy.

The ratings were broken down into four designations from worst to best: Poor, Marginal, Acceptable and Good.

Rating: Poor

2021 Honda HR-V
The 2021 Honda HR-V starts at $21,220. American Honda Motor Co., Inc

2021-2022 Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V was one of the lowest-rated small SUVs receiving a Poor score in structure and safety cage. The SUV received an Acceptable score in chest protection for both driver and passenger and Marginal scores pelvic protection throughout the vehicle. The 2021 Honda HR-V received a Poor score overall for its structure and safety.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Mitsubishi skipped a year for the Eclipse Cross so the 2019 was considered for testing, however the 2022 starts at $23,695. Mitsubishi Motors

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross received a Good rating in both driver and passenger head and neck protection. Pelvis protection was Marginal for both measures. It is the only SUV on the list to receive a Poor rating for driver chest protection. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Marginal.

Rating: Marginal

2021 Chevrolet Equinox
The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox starts at $23,800. General Motors

2021-2022 Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox received a Good rating in driver head, neck and pelvis protection. The 2021 Equinox received a Marginal score in chest protection. The rear passengers have Good-rated pelvis protection, Acceptable neck and chest protection and Marginal head protection. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Good.

2021 Ford Escape
The 2021 Ford Escape starts at $25,555. Ford Motor Company

2021-2022 Ford Escape

The Ford Escape received a Good rating in both driver and passenger neck protection. The compact SUV only receives a Marginal chest, pelvis and head protection score. The rear passenger benefits from Good-rated head protection and Acceptable-rated chest and pelvis protection. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Acceptable.

2021 GMC Terrain
The 2021 GMC Terrain starts at $25,000. General Motors

2021-2022 GMC Terrain

The GMC Terrain received a Good pelvis protection rating for the driver and rear passenger. The driver's Good rating for head and neck protection bests the Marginal rating for chest protection. Passengers benefit from Good-ranked pelvis protection but only Acceptable-ranked neck and chest protection and Marginal-ranked head protection. The overall structure and safety cage was certified as Good.

2021 Hyundai Tucson
The 2021 Hyundai Tucson $23,700. Hyundai Motor America

2021 Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson received a poor driver pelvis safety rating but received a good safety score for both drive and passenger head and neck protection. The passenger also maintains that good score in pelvic safety. As far as chest safety, the driver received acceptable protection while the passengers were only marginal. The overall structure and safety cage was marginal.

2021 Jeep Compass
The 2021 Jeep Compass starts at $24,495. Stellantis

2021 Jeep Compass

The Jeep Compass received a Good rating for driver and passenger head and neck safety. The 2021 Compass has earned an Acceptable chest safety rating for everyone in the vehicle. The rear passenger can also expect Acceptable level pelvis protection while the driver is marginal. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Marginal.

2021 Jeep Renegade
The 2021 Jeep Renegade starts at $22,850. Stellantis

2021 Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade received very similar scores to the Compass with a Good rating in both driver and passenger head and neck safety, Acceptable chest safety scores for everyone in the vehicle and an Acceptable rear passenger pelvis protection rating. The only difference is the poorly rated pelvis protection for the driver. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as being Marginal.

2021 Kia Sportage
The 2021 Kia Sportage starts at $24,090. Kia America

2021 Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage received a Good rating in both driver and passenger head and neck protection and pelvis protection for the passenger. The 2021 Sportage received an Acceptable rating in driver chest protection, a Marginal rating in rear passenger chest protection and a Poor rating for driver pelvis safety. The overall structure and safety cage was scored as being Acceptable.

2021 Lincoln Corsair
The 2021 Lincoln Corsair starts at $36,105. Lincoln Motor Company

2021 Lincoln Corsair

The Lincoln Corsair received a Good rating in for the rear passengers' head and neck protection. A Good score was also earned for neck safety but head safety received a Marginal score. The 2021 has Acceptable-rated protection for the rear passenger's chest and pelvis while only scoring Marginal marks for protection in those areas for the driver. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Poor.

Rating: Acceptable

2021 Audi Q3
The 2021 Audi Q3 starts at $34,000. Audi AG

2021 Audi Q3

The Audi Q3 received a Good rating in both driver and passenger head and neck protection and an Acceptable score in both chest protection categories. Passenger pelvis protection was also rated as Acceptable but was rated as Poor for the driver the vehicle. The overall structure and safety cage earned an Acceptable score.

2021 Buick Encore
The 2021 Buick Encore starts at $23,200. General Motors

2021 Buick Encore

The Buick Encore received a Good rating for driver and passenger head, neck, pelvis protection. Chest protection for the passenger was also rated Good but was named as Marginal for the driver. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Good.

2021 Chevrolet Trax
The 2021 Chevrolet Trax starts at $21,400. General Motors

2021 Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax received a good rating in both driver and passenger head, neck and pelvis protection, but rated marginal for driver chest protection. The rear passenger received a good score in the chest protection though.The overall structure and safety cage was good.

2021 Honda CR-V
The 2021 Honda CR-V starts at $25,350 American Honda Motor Co., Inc

2021 Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V received a Good rating in both driver and passenger head and neck protection areas along with a Good chest protection mark for the driver. Rear passengers' chest protection was only rated as Marginal while both passenger and driver pelvis safety ratings were recorded as Acceptable. The overall structure and safety cage was also deemed Acceptable.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The 2021 Nissan Rogue starts at $26,050. Nissan North America

2021 Nissan Rogue

The recently redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue received a Good rating in both driver and passenger neck, chest and pelvis protection but scored just Marginal marks for both head protections. The overall structure and safety cage were rated Good.

2021 Subaru Forester
The 2021 Subaru Forester starts at $24,795. Subaru of America, Inc.

2021 Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester received a Good rating in both driver and passenger neck protection. The driver also had Good head protection while the rear passengers' safety was ranked as Marginal. The rear passenger does benefit from Good-rated chest and pelvis protection while the driver's is only Acceptable. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Acceptable.

2021 Toyota RAV4
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 starts at $26,350. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

2021 Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 received a Good rating in both driver and passenger neck and chest protection. The rear passenger also has Good-rated pelvis protection but Marginal head protection. The driver receives Good-rated head protection and their pelvis safety measures are rated as Acceptable. The overall structure and safety cage earned Good marks.

2021 Toyota Venza
The 2021 Toyota Venza starts at $32,670. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

2021 Toyota Venza

The new-to-market Toyota Venza received a Good rating in both driver and passenger neck and chest safety. The driver's head protection also received a Good safety rating but pelvis protection is just Acceptable. The rear passenger has Good-rated pelvis protection but Marginal head protection. The overall structure and safety cage was marked as Good.

2021 Volvo XC40
The 2021 Volvo XC40 starts at $33,700. Volvo Car USA

2021 Volvo XC40

The Volvo XC40 received a Good rating in driver and passenger head and neck safety, and passenger pelvis safety. Passenger chest protection is considered Acceptable while the driver has marginal pelvis protection. The overall structure and safety cage was rated as Marginal.

Rating: Good

2021 Mazda CX-5
The 2021 Mazda CX-5, the highest rated small SUV, starts at $25,370. Mazda North American Operations

2021 Mazda CX-5

The highest-rated vehicle is the Mazda CX-5, which received a Good score in overall structure and cage safety; and driver and passenger head and neck, pelvis and head protection. The lowest rating that the 2021 CX-5 earned was an Acceptable score in driver chest protection.