The Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport both scored top honors among small SUV’s in the new “small overlap” crash test introduced this year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS crash tests and rates vehicles separately from the  Federal Government’s crash tests that are conducted by the National Transportation and Safety Board.

The new test which has the left front of the vehicle strike a five-foot tall barrier at 40 MPH is meant to duplicate a car hitting a pole or tree or a car crossing the center lane on a highway and striking another car at the corner of the vehicle.

As consumers look for better gas mileage and room to carry passengers and cargo, many have turned to these smaller SUV’s or crossovers making it one of the fastest growing segments of the automotive market.

Five vehicles in the class, The Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Buick Encore, Jeep Patriot and Ford Escape were given “poor” ratings.

Russ Rader. Photo courtesy IIHS

Russ Rader. Photo courtesy IIHS

Russ Rader of the Institute spoke with us on Drivetime about the tests, how they are conducted and what they mean to manufacturers and consumers…

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