Three small SUVs earn insurance industry's top crash test rating

Tuesday, July 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Three of four small sport utility vehicles put through insurance industry crash tests earned the highest rating, continuing an industrywide trend of better SUV performance in the tests.

The 2002 Honda CR-V, 2003 Subaru Forester and 2002 Saturn VUE were rated good after holding up well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal crash tests. The 2002 Land Rover Freelander was rated acceptable.

The Insurance Institute tests vehicles by running the driver's side front end into a barrier at 40 mph. It rates vehicles as ``good,'' ``acceptable,'' ``marginal'' or ``poor'' based on injury measurements on crash dummies, analysis of how the restraint system controlled movement of the dummies and how well the occupant compartment held up.

The CR-V and the Forester earned ``best pick'' designation given to the best performers in the tests.

Insurance Institute President Brian O'Neill said before this set of tests that only the Hyundai Santa Fe and a previous Forester design earned good crash ratings among small SUVs. Larger SUVs also have been earning better marks.

``Adding more small SUVs to those with good ratings is further proof that manufacturers are working to improve the performances of their new designs in offset tests,'' he said. ``This will mean improved protection for people in serious real-world crashes.''