Ford's Escape SUV.
Todd Korol—Toronto Star via Getty Images
By Emily Price
April 4, 2018

Ford’s Escape SUV earned a “poor” rating the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new passenger side front crash test, the only small SUV in the group to fail.

The test is the flip side of the driver’s side test that the Institute has been doing for the past five years, CNN reports.

For the test, a vehicle is propelled at 40-miles-an-hour toward a barrier, which is strikes with just the outermost part of the bumper. The idea behind the test is to mimic what might happen if the vehicle was in a collision with an object of the vehicle on just the passenger side.

When the same test was done on the driver’s side of the vehicle, the Escape earned an “acceptable” rating thanks to reinforcements Ford added to that side of the vehicle but chose to leave off the passenger side of the SUV.

“Disparities like this one are why we decided to formally rate the passenger side in the small overlap test after five years of evaluating only the driver side,” says Becky Mueller, a senior research engineer with the Institute who helped develop the passenger-side small overlap front test said in a statement on the group’s website. “Manufacturers shouldn’t shortchange protection for front-seat passengers.”

Unlike other vehicles in the test, the SUV’s side airbags did not deploy when struck.

The BMW X1; Chevrolet Equinox and its twin, the GMC Terrain; Jeep Compass and Mitsubishi Outlander earned good ratings in the passenger-side small overlap front test. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned a marginal rating.

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