Cruising down Woodward the other day, we couldn't help but notice the number of soccer-mom types riding above the traffic in their SUV's. We always find the image to be slightly humorous; middle-aged suburban mom shopping for groceries in a tank built to hold seven plus a chain gun.
But they're drivin' em cause they are safer, right?...
...Both in surveys and anecdotally, respondents claim they drive SUVs for two primary reasons; the ability to "haul stuff" (including people) and "safety."
And according to the new crash test and rollover data released yesterday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the 2006 models of the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Tucson, Mercedes Benz ML-class, Nissan Murano and Subaru B9 Tribeca received five stars in front- and side-impact crash tests. The newly-redesigned and now better-selling 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac also received five stars in the two crash tests.
So the five star ratings would seem to give credence to the safety argument, right?
Our analysis of the NHTSA data indicates although the SUVs tested did receive higher marks in both the side and front crash simulations, there's still the nagging issue of rollovers bearing its teeth like an esuvee without its tranq's.
Not a single SUV tested rated higher than four stars in both the 2WD and 4WD rollover test simulations, with many receiving only three stars.
Of sedans tested, all received at a minimum a four star rollover rating, and one, the Buick Lucerne, received a five star rating.
Safer my ass. Especially when you consider half of all automotive deaths occur in or due to rollovers, maybe mom should be driving a Buick.
**This has been a public service announcement from Jalopnik, looking out for lonely desperate housewives since 2004. Especially Teri Hatcher, cause she's a total fox.**
7 SUVs get top safety score [Detroit News]
NHTSA Releases New Crash Test and Rollover Ratings [NHTSA.gov]
New US Government Campaign Promotes SUV Safety [internal]