The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has launched a new roof strength rating system and has chosen to put 12 small SUVs up to the test.
More than 10,000 people are killed a year in rollovers and SUVs rank higher compared to cars and minivans.
In the Institute's roof strength test, a metal plate is pushed against 1 side of a roof at a constant speed. To earn a good rating, the roof must withstand a force of 4 times the vehicle's weight before reaching 5 inches of crush. This is called a strength-to-weight ratio. For an acceptable rating, the minimum required strength-to-weight ratio is 3.25. A marginal rating value is 2.5. Anything lower than that is poor.
Only 4 of the small SUVs earned the top rating of good: VW Tiguan, Subaru Forester, Honda Element and Jeep Patriot. the VW Tiguan had the strongest roof out of all the SUVs tested. The Suzuki Grand Vitara, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Mitsubishi Outlander are rated acceptable. Roofs on the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape are marginal, and the Kia Sportage received a poor rating.