For the most part, the Ford Explorer has ranked very well in recent safety tests, earning a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in both 2020 and 2021, though the popular crossover did fail that same organization’s seat belt reminder test earlier this year. Regardless, the IIHS has now given the 2022 Ford Explorer its highest possible rating – good – in its newly revised side-impact evaluation test.
The 2022 Ford Explorer is one of 10 out of 18 mid-size crossovers/SUVs that earned a good rating on the new test, a list that also includes the Infiniti QX60, Lincoln Aviator, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, and Volkswagen ID.4. The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse earned acceptable ratings, while the Honda Passport, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Wrangler four-door, Kia Telluride, and Nissan Murano were rated as marginal.
This is a huge improvement over the initial test results from last October, when only one out of 20 small crossovers/SUVs tested earned a good rating. The IIHS revised its side-impact test to simulate a 4,200-pound vehicle (the average weight of most mid-size SUVs) striking each model, while the previous version of the test only utilized a 3,300-pound barrier for the impact. The organization also raised the speed at which it strikes each vehicle with the barrier from 31 to 37 miles-per-hour, while both changes combine to generate 82 percent more energy. To earn a good rating, the vehicle’s passenger compartment must hold its shape well during the crash and protect the occupants’ heads from injury.
“It’s encouraging to see so many midsize SUVs from different automakers earn good ratings in this more challenging evaluation,” said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller. “These results will help confirm the adjustments they need to make to other vehicles going forward.”