ARLINGTON, Virginia — The redesigned 2015 Nissan Murano was the best performer in a new round of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small-overlap front crash tests. The Institute tested seven popular SUVs and crossovers and noted that the group produced "mixed results."
The Murano earned a "good" overall rating and was named a Top Safety Pick+, the Institute's highest award.
"It hit all the marks for ideal small overlap protection," the Institute said in a statement. "The driver space held up well. Measures taken from the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity."
About 25 percent of the serious injuries and deaths that occur in front impacts happen in small-overlap collisions where just the front corner of the vehicle hits another car or a tree or telephone pole.
The 2015 Ford Flex earned an "acceptable" overall rating and qualifies for Top Safety Pick.
The Flex is on sale now at Ford dealerships.
But the Institute said many vehicles still struggle with the small-overlap crash test, which was introduced in 2012. The worst performer in the latest round was the 2015 Dodge Journey, which was rated "poor" overall.
"The occupant compartment failed to hold up, with intrusion measuring as much as 9 inches at the instrument panel and the parking brake pedal, which tore through the dummy's left lower leg," the Institute said. "The side curtain airbag failed to deploy, leaving the dummy's head vulnerable to contact with side structure and outside objects."
The 2015 Jeep Wrangler received a "good" rating in the small-overlap front crash test.
"However, the Wrangler offers only marginal protection in side and rear crashes, so it's not a recommended choice," the Institute said. "It also lacks a fixed roof, so it can't provide good protection in rollover crashes."
"Consumers looking for a midsize SUV now have seven choices that qualify for awards," the Institute said. "The earlier winners are the Toyota Highlander with Top Safety Pick+ and the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Kia Sorento and Nissan Pathfinder, which all earn Top Safety Pick."
Edmunds says: Safety-minded comparison shoppers in this popular segment will want to take a hard look at these latest tests.