2015 Jeep Wrangler Gets Good IIHS Small Overlap Crash Rating, 2015 Cherokee Struggles

Imagine a frontal, small-overlap crash between a Jeep Wrangler and a Jeep Cherokee. The modern structure of the latter may trick you into believing it would be the safer choice for this scenario, but this is far from the truth. You don’t have to take our word for it, as both vehicles’ results became obvious in the latest round of crash tests released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
2015 Jeep Wrangler and 2015 Jeep Cherokee IIHS Small Overlap crash test 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
Before we dive into the details of each vehicle’s behavior, we’ll remind you the small overlap test replicates as a situation where the front corner of a vehicle hits another vehicle or an obstacle. To be more precise, a quarter of the vehicle’s front end, on the driver’s side, hits a rigid barrier at a speed of 40 MPH (64 KM/H).

The Wrangler, tested here in four-door guise, managed to grab a “Good” small overlap rating. Its protection scores range from “Good” (the majority of them, to “Acceptable”.

As for the Cherokee, this might have “Good” ratings for the head & neck, chest, and hip & thigh, but these are mixed with a “Poor” and two “Marginal” ratings.

The videos below provide an interesting insight for the Wrangler’s success. This is one of the few vehicles on the market that retains a design from decades ago, which means its wheels partially sit outside the main area of its chassis.

As a result, the crash sends the car sliding diagonally away, with this movement dissipating the force of the impact. This does not happen with modern vehicles, where the full force of the impact is sent along the body.

Unfortunately, the Wrangler is no Top Safety Pick since it only offers marginal protection for the side and rear crashes. The lesson here is that, when it comes to crash tests, appearances can be double deceiving.

Fiat Chrysler need to work on the crash performance of their SUVs

In fact, Fiat Chrysler’s SUVs showed disappointing results over this series of small overlap tests. Aside from the pair of Jeeps, the Dodge Journey earned a “Poor” rating while the Dodge Durango got a "Marginal” rating.

"This test presented a major challenge for manufacturers when it was introduced three years ago, and many have adapted quickly," IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby said. "Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep have had some successes with redesigned models, but they haven't done much in the way of interim improvements. As a result, they still have many models that rate poor or marginal."

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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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