GM SUVs get top crash test scores; Pilot at bottom

Consumer Reports drops recommendation of 3 SUVs

Two GM SUVs got top ratings in a new crash test, while 3 other makes got poor ratings.
Two GM SUVs got top ratings in a new crash test, while 3 other makes got poor ratings.

Results are in for a new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test, and two General Motors mid-sized SUVs, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, earned top ratings. 

Honda Pilot got a poor rating as did the Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-9. As a result, Consumer Reports announced it is no longer recommending those three SUVs.

"We cannot recommend a vehicle that does poorly in this crash test, especially when others have proven they can do well," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of auto testing.

The new crash test simulates what  happens when the front corner of a vehicle going 40 miles an hour crashes into a car, pole, tree or other object.

That new test, the small overlap test, is more difficult for many cars than the older head-on crash test because when hit head on, cars have a crumple zone to absorb much of the impact.

Cars that don't do well in a particular crash test generally were designed before that test was instituted, according to Fisher.

"Carmakers engineer these cars to pass these tests," Fisher said. "Even though these are 2014 models, they were designed years ago before these standards were even introduced."

Honda usually gets good crash tests ratings and released a statement saying it "leads the industry in third-party crash test ratings with more vehicles rated Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety than any other manufacturer.

For consumers in the market for a new mid-sized SUV, Consumer Reports recommended the Toyota Highlander which earned top ratings in its tests and did well in the Insurance Institute's small overlap test.

Consumer Reports also recommended the Acura MDX. They did not recommend the Equinox or  Terrain because neither SUV scored high enough in Consumer Reports' test track.

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