Despite design changes, Jeep Wrangler won’t stop tipping in crash tests

According to crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Jeep Wrangler 4-Door is not as safe as other SUVs. The 2022 Wrangler tipped on its side in the front test with a small driver-side overlap, a repeat of what the 2019 model did after hitting the barrier despite design changes.

The result of the test was that the 2022 Jeep Wranger received a marginal rating. A good rating in the test is required to be recognized as a Top Safety Pick.

The driver-side small overlap frontal crash test was introduced in 2012 to replicate what happens when a front left corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. According to IIHS, this is a challenge for some seatbelt and airbag designs because occupants move both forward and to the side of the vehicle. In the test, a vehicle drives at 40 miles per hour (mph) toward a 5 foot high barrier. A crash test dummy rides in the driver’s seat and the crash takes up around 25 percent of the vehicle’s overall width.

IIHS notes that the Wrangler performed well considering normal metrics. The restrained safety cage protected the driver and the restraint systems controlled the movement of the dummy. The test indicated a risk of injury to the driver’s left foot and leg. According to the IIHS, the combined head and upper body side airbag did not trigger.

However, IIHS added that tipping over adds a dangerous crease to the equation. IIHS does not traditionally test tipping points, but notes when vehicles roll over as a result of a test.

2022 Jeep Wrangler 4-Door IIHS Crash Test
The 2022 Jeep Wrangler 4-Door 2022 Jeep Wrangler in an action shot taken during frontal crash testing with a small overlap on the driver’s side just before the vehicle rolled onto its side.
Insurance Institute for Road Safety

“We made a change to a suspension component in response to the test result and we are reviewing that change. However, we design our vehicles for real-world performance, and real-world performance continues to indicate that the vehicle is safe,” Stellantis told press secretary Eric Mayne news week.

The IIHS does not place a dummy in the passenger seat for the driver’s side small overlap tests. In real life, a partial rollover could throw a passenger or driver out of the vehicle in a tip-over accident. In addition, a passenger could fall on the driver or vice versa.

That’s more relevant to the Wrangler, which can be driven with the doors and roof removed.

The Jeep Wrangler received good ratings in the IIHS’ four original tests and received a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) overall and in front-end crash tests.

“Stellantis has produced more than a million of these vehicles. Real world performance strongly demonstrates that they offer the level of security that our customers demand and deserve. According to a conservative estimate, they have covered 105 billion kilometers of road. And we are not aware of any testimonials consistent with IIHS test results,” said a Stellantis representative news week.

“We are reviewing this latest result. We routinely consider third-party testing and incorporate it into our product development process where appropriate. But we design our vehicles for real-world performance,” they said.

“The Jeep Wrangler has unique and exceptional capabilities unlike any other vehicle on the road. Real-world data and continued demand show that the four-door Wrangler is meeting or exceeding the expectations of the buying public.”

On its Understanding the Ratings website, the IIHS says that after analyzing 14 years of data, it found that the driver of a vehicle rated Good on the moderate overlap test compared to a driver of a vehicle rated around 46 percent less likely to die in a frontal collision Driver of a poorly rated vehicle. However, it only began evaluating vehicles for protection in low-overlap frontal crashes in 2012.

The IIHS also notes that, in general, when weight is taken into account, the heavier of two vehicles usually offers better protection in real world crashes. It tested this in 2009, when even small cars with good head-on ratings still fared poorly against heavier cars. Despite design changes, Jeep Wrangler won’t stop tipping in crash tests

Rick Schindler

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