Skip to main content

IIHS Rear Seat Crash Protection Update - New Subaru Forester Lags Behind

How safe is the 2023 Subaru Forester for rear passengers in a crash? A new report from IIHS testing says Forester is lagging behind. Check out the updated information here.


How does the 2023 Subaru Forester compare with other compact SUVs in crash protection? In the recent stricter side crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted in October, the Forester earned an "Acceptable" rating for front passengers.

The Forester received "Good" scores in driver's head and neck injury and driver head protection. Forester scored "Acceptable" in its structure, safety cage, driver chest, and pelvis protection. The test results include the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Subaru Forester model years.

2023 Subaru Forester

How does the Forester score in rear passenger protection?

The new report from the IIHS and Consumer Reports says that rear passengers are not as well protected as front passengers in real-world crashes. Especially in the head and neck areas, the most vulnerable areas of the body. The Forester scored only "Marginal" in rear passenger head protection. There's more information from the IIHS data.

How safe is the 2021-2023 Subaru Forester for rear passengers in a crash?

The IIHS recently tested fifteen small SUVs, including the 2023 Subaru Forester compact SUV. Forester does not score highest among new small SUVs in rear passenger crash protection.

2023 Subaru Forester

To earn a "Good" rating, measurements recorded by sensors in the second-row dummy must not exceed limits indicating an excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest, abdomen, or thigh, says IIHS.

How the fifteen small SUVs scored in rear occupant protection

The Ford Escape and Volvo XC40 protect the rear occupant best and earn a "Good" rating. The Toyota RAV4 earns an "Acceptable" rating, and the Audi Q3, Nissan Rogue, and Subaru Forester are rated "Marginal."

Another nine vehicles, the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-5, and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, are rated "Poor."

Where does Forester need to improve?

The IIHS says, "Among the three "Marginal"-rated vehicles, injury measures taken from the second-row dummy indicated elevated risks of head and neck injuries in the Audi Q3 and Nissan Rogue and a high risk of chest injuries in the Forester. The rear passenger dummy's lap belt slipped from the pelvis onto the abdomen in the Q3 and Rogue, and in all three vehicles, the rear dummy's head came too close to the front seat back during the crash."

Consumer Reports (CR) says the new IIHS test data complements its existing rear-seat safety features ratings. CR's scoring says, "We evaluate the presence of features already proved to provide benefits for front occupants, such as head restraints of adequate height and advanced seatbelt features that improve both fit and crash performance. Features that have become nearly universal in the front seat, namely adjustable upper seatbelt anchors and seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, have been slow to become standard features in the back seat."

What are the current Forester IIHS safety scores?

All 2023 Forester trim levels earned the Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It also gets the highest five-star rating from the NHTSA.

When will Subaru improve Forester's rear passenger protection?

The Subaru Forester will get a complete redesign in 2024, and Subaru will likely improve the compact SUVs' rear seat passenger safety capabilities.

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 more stringent new testing by the IIHS this year.

Look for Subaru to provide better protection in the next-generation 2024 Forester with advanced restraint systems in the rear seat. That will include improved features like rear seat airbags and seat belts that themselves inflate to mitigate the effects of crash forces.

You Might Also Like: Subaru’s 2024 Model Preview And The New Next-Generation Parade

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.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: IIHS, Subaru