The current-gen Jeep Wrangler scored less-than-ideal marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) after it violently flipped on its side during a pair of front-impact crash tests. In both tests conducted by the IIHS, the convertible off-roader landed on its passenger side after striking the crash barrier, earning it an overall rating of marginal from the agency.
As far as normal metrics go that are used to evaluate small overlap crashworthiness, the Wrangler performed well. The driver’s space was maintained, and the dummy’s movement was well-controlled. However, the IIHS says that the partial rollovers present an additional risk beyond what the standard test criteria is intended to measure. The Wrangler’s overall rating was then downgraded to marginal to account for the fact that a vehicle tipping onto its side is “not an acceptable outcome for a frontal crash,” according to IIHS.
The Wrangler, with its removable roof, doors, and fold-down windshield, presents a concern for the crash testing organization due to the increased risk of complete or partial passenger ejection in a rollover. The Jeep is also devoid of side-curtain airbags, which are designed to keep people in the vehicle during such an incident.
Initially, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) questioned the outcome of the IIHS's first test, asking whether it was due to the methods that the agency used to attach the Wrangler to the crash propulsion system. The Institute agreed to conduct a second test using FCA’s approved method and the Wrangler still tipped over. FCA says it performed its own tests and the vehicle didn't flip in that instance.
For the sake of fairness, the Wrangler performed decently in several parts of the IIHS testing. It earned good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof, and head restraint evaluations. It also got top marks for its optional front crash prevention tech, which worked between 12 and 25 miles per hour in testing. The Jeep’s headlights were rated poorly, both with the base halogen units and the optional LED projectors.
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