3 SUVs lose 'recommended' rating from Consumer Reports after poor front crash test results

CLEVELAND - There are new results for front crash tests that were done on mid-sized SUVs.

The test simulates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle going 40 mph crashes into a car, tree or other object.

The 2014 Honda Pilot, Kia Sorento and the Mazda CX-9 all rated poor. And Consumer Reports is no longer recommending them. 

"We cannot recommend a vehicle that does poorly in this crash test, especially when others have proven they can do well," said Jake Fisher who is the Director of Consumer Reports Auto Testing

The new Insurance Institute's small overlap test is harder for many cars than its older head-on collision test.  When hit head-on, cars have crumple zones in the front of the car that absorb much of the impact.

Fisher said, generally, cars that don't do well in a crash test were designed before that test was instituted.  "Carmakers engineer cars to pass these tests," explained Fisher. "Even though these are 2014 models, they were designed years ago before these standards were even introduced," he added.

Fisher went on to say that if you own one of the cars that rated poorly, then you shouldn't panic. "You're not driving a death trap," Fisher said. "Your car is just as safe as when you bought it. It's the standards that continue to improve."   

But if you're in the market for a new mid-size SUV, Consumer Reports has some recommendations. The Toyota Highlander earned top scores at the test track and did well in the Insurance Institute's new crash test.  Another good choice is the Acura MDX. This luxury SUV costs a bit more, but it also earned high scores both at the track and in the crash test.

The Chevrolet Equinox, the GMC Terrain, and the Toyota Highlander are the only mid-size SUVs to get a "good" rating from the Insurance Institute. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer got "marginal" ratings.

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