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Harder IIHS Crash Prevention Test Means Your Family's Car Gets Safer

The IIHS adds motorcycle and large truck avoidance to its series of tests

2024 Subaru Forester In IIHS Crash Avoidance Test
  • The IIHS tested 10 small SUVs in this more stringent evaluation, and only one of them got a Good rating.
  • The updated test is carried out at increased speeds versus the previous version.
  • The agency is now checking how vehicles avoid motorcycles and semitrailers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent agency that evaluates how vehicles perform in crashes and the effectiveness of their driving assistance technology. The group's latest step is introducing even more stringent tests for how well forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems avoid collisions. After putting 10 small SUVs through this stricter analysis, the IIHS only awarded one of them with the top score of Good.

The updated automatic emergency braking test evaluates the system from 31 miles per hour, 37 mph and 43 mph. Previously, the IIHS analyzed this technology in a vehicle traveling 12 mph and 25 mph. The higher speeds mean the system has to detect a hazard and slow the vehicle even more quickly than before. The upshot is your family's car gets a more thorough evaluation and you get to make a more informed choice when it comes to safety.

The IIHS also added two more obstacles for a vehicle's forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking system to avoid. There's now a simulated motorcycle and a semitrailer, in addition to the previous passenger car.

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The agency uses a real stationary semitrailer, and the driver of the test car swerves out of the way before impact. As a result, this part of the test only evaluates a vehicle's forward collision warning system and not the automatic emergency braking system — because if the latter failed to bring the vehicle to a complete stop, the driver could be injured.

The IIHS combines the performance of the forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking into a single score for a vehicle. The agency awards points if the systems warn drivers at least 2.1 seconds before the projected time of impact and substantially reduce the vehicle's speed.

The IIHS' scores are Good, Acceptable, Marginal and Poor. The 2023-24 Subaru Forester was the only vehicle in this test to get a Good rating for its forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems. The model stopped in time to avoid the motorcycle from 31 mph and 37 mph. In the 43-mph evaluation, the technology slowed the Forester by 30 mph before hitting the bike. Plus, the forward collision warning alerted the driver even sooner than necessary.

The 2023-24 Honda CR-V and 2023-24 Toyota RAV4 received Acceptable ratings. The 2023-24 Ford Escape, 2023-24 Hyundai Tucson and 2023-24 Jeep Compass had Marginal scores. Finally, the 2023-24 Chevrolet Equinox, 2023-24 Mazda CX-5, 2023-24 Mitsubishi Outlander and 2023-24 Volkswagen Taos got Poor assessments.

If you'd like to see how the IIHS is testing these systems, check out the video above.

Edmunds says

Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking can be a literal lifesaver, and these systems can also prevent damage to a vehicle. Since the IIHS has insurance companies supporting it, these safety advances can mean fewer claims and injuries.