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2022 Subaru Forester Is Not The Best Small SUV In New IIHS Side Crash Test

How does the 2022 Subaru Forester compare with other compact SUVs in crash protection? See why it earns an acceptable grade, but it's not the best.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just introduced a new, stricter side crash test, and the first models tested are Compact SUVs, where the refreshed 2022 Subaru Forester resides. The IIHS just put twenty compact SUVs through the new test, and only one, the Mazda CX-5, earned a "Good" rating.

The 2022 Subaru Forester is one of nine models that earned an "Acceptable" rating along with the Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Venza, and Volvo XC40. Eight other compact SUVs only scored "Marginal" ratings, and the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross both earned "Poor scores."

2022 Subaru Forester features, specs, safety scores

The IIHS developed the new side test to address higher-speed crashes that continue to cause fatalities, and they suspected few new models would get the highest score. "We developed this new test because we suspected there was room for more progress, and these results confirm that," IIHS President David Harkey says.

Where does the 2022 Subaru Forester score well, and where does it need to improve?

The refreshed Forester gets "Good" scores in driver's head and neck injury, driver head protection, and "Good" in rear passenger head and neck, chest, and pelvis. Forester scored "Acceptable" scores in its structure and safety cage, driver chest, and pelvis protection. Forester score "Marginal" in rear passenger head protection. The Forester did not receive any "Poor" ratings.

2022 Subaru Forester features, specs, safety scores

The current generation Subaru Forester had a complete redesign for the 2019 model year, scored "Good" ratings in the IIHS first-generation side test, and earned the highest scores.

When will Subaru improve Forester's scores?

The Subaru Forester will get a complete redesign in 2023, and it's likely when Subaru will improve the compact SUVs' occupant structure and safety capabilities. The IIHS says, "In real-world side crashes, stronger structures are linked to higher survival rates."

2022 Subaru Forester features, specs, safety scores

Subaru made changes to improve occupant protection in small overlap frontal crashes back in 2014. Subaru engineers improved the ring-shaped reinforcement frame used in all its vehicles. Subaru's ring-shaped reinforcement frame has been used for over a decade and has proven very effective until the new IIHS tests.

Look for Subaru to provide better protection in the next-generation 2023 Forester improving its structure and cabin rigidity.

You Might Also Like: Before 2022 Models Arrive The Subaru Forester Is The Hottest-Selling New Compact SUV In The U.S.

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: main image Maita Subaru


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ANDRE DENIS (not verified)    October 28, 2021 - 10:09AM

Do test standards or procedures change from year to year? These cars have not gone through any significant design or construction changes or have they? So why do ratings change year to year? If changes were made it would be important that they be described by the reviewer so that the difference in year to year ratings are understood. Or is it simply the subjective difference of different inspectors?

Valentin Cudric (not verified)    October 29, 2021 - 1:47AM

You say Forester got a "Good" for rear passenger head and neck protection and few lines below you say it got a "marginal" for rear passenger head protection. Which is true?