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Do SUVs Still Have High Rollover Risk Even With all that New Technology?

Crash-tested 2008 Kia Sportage photographed at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center

SUVs started getting popular back in 1990s as a better substitute for minivans for its perceived safety from their rugged design, better traction from 4x4 versions and etc.  Then SUV's higher rollover risks became a hot issue making frequent news headlines with vivid images of SUVs lying on its sideways or upside down position.

Fast forward about 20 years, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported  that SUVs are now safer than cars in its June 2011 report even when accounted for similar weight.  There could be many reasons contributing to this outcome, but it is clearly a reversal of the comparative safety for SUVs.

One biggest contributor for this change is a wide adoption of electronic stability systems which significantly reduces the probability of rollovers.  According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, electronic stability systems can reduce rollover risk by 75 percent for SUVs and 72 percent for passenger cars.

Another big contributor is the change in design by automaker by lowering the center of gravity on their SUVs.  Advancement in tire technology also helped reducing rollover risks for all cars, not just SUVs.

One important distinction should be made between truck based SUVs that are typically larger and heavier vs. crossover type SUVs derived from cars instead.  Crossover SUVs clearly have an advantage when it comes to rollover risk, and there is only one crossover SUV in 2013 that rated 3 stars for rollover risk which is the Jeep Patriot pictured above.  Every other 2013 crossover models received 4 stars, and that is a great news for the consumers even though no SUV has every got 5-star rating.

Of the truck based SUVs, we have a mixed bag of results with a small number of them getting 4-star rating and the rest with 3 stars.  Ones that are rated 4-stars in this category are Toyota Sequoia, Ford Expedition, Linconln Navigator and Jeep Grand Cherokee.  These are all larger, heavier and wider SUVs among the group.

All in all, SUVs still have higher risk of rollover especially for truck based ones so you will have to slow down a lot more than cars.

Do SUVs Still Have High Rollover Risk Even With all that New Technology? Reviewed by Blogs on 10:06 PM Rating: 5

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