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IIHS Says 2 Subaru Models Are The Safest SUVs You Can Buy - One Subaru Is Not

The 2022 Subaru Outback and 2022 Subaru Ascent are now the safest midsize SUVs, according to a new test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's updated side crash test. One small Subaru SUV falls short.

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How safe are occupants of the 2022 Subaru Outback if they are hit from the side? The Subaru Outback is the only midsize car to earn a Good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) updated side crash test for midsize cars. The 2022 Ascent 3-Row family hauler is the other Subaru vehicle that aced the new IIHS test for midsize SUVs.

The IIHS updated its side crash test using a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle. The new barrier weighs 4,200 pounds to simulate the weight of today's midsize SUVs. The new barrier strikes the test vehicle at 37 mph, compared with a 3,300-pound barrier traveling at 31 mph in the initial evaluation.

2022 Subaru Outback

How do other Subaru models score in the new test?

The IIHS is still conducting its newly-updated side crash test, and the only other Subaru model tested is the 2022 Forester, which earned an acceptable rating when tested in October 2021. The Forester is one of the twenty small SUVs tested, and only one of the vehicles received a Good rating, the Mazda CX-5. The new test makes it harder for a smaller vehicle to get the highest rating.

Why did the 2022 Outback and Ascent score highest among the test midsize vehicles? The IIHS says one reason is the Outback and Ascent's ride height. The Outback and Ascent have higher ground clearance of 8.7-inches, higher than many larger vehicles.

2022 Subaru Ascent

Subaru says, "The 8.7 inches of ground clearance (9.5 inches for the Outback Wilderness) is greater than that of many SUVs, yet the Outback maintains a comfortably low step-in height for both front and rear passenger entry."

IIHS President David Harkey says," With vehicles that sit lower to the ground, the striking barrier hits higher on the door panel. "That potentially puts sedans and wagons at a disadvantage in this evaluation but reflects what happens in a real-world crash when a higher-riding pickup or SUV strikes these vehicles."

What does the test mean for new SUV shoppers?

The 2022 Subaru Outback and 2022 Subaru Agent protected the driver and rear passenger occupants against head and neck injuries. The IIHS says the Subaru vehicle's head-protecting airbags for the driver and rear passenger performed well in the Outback and Ascent, "contributing to a low risk of head and neck injuries for occupants in both seating positions."

The new IIHS side crash test reveals the 2022 Subaru Outback and 2022 Subaru Ascent are the safest new midsize vehicles customers can buy. Joe Young, a spokesman for the IIHS, says, "We expect to see continued improvements with the rollout of this new test. These new ratings certainly reflect the challenge posed by the new test configuration, but, as the Subaru Outback demonstrates, good side protection is achievable for this vehicle class."

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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: Subaru USA

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