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Some New Subaru Models May Not Achieve The IIHS Top Safety Scores This Year

How safe are the 2022 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other new all-wheel-drive models? A new report from IIHS says safety scores could drop this year.

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Subaru has always had the Top Safety Pick+ scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on its 2022 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other new all-wheel-drive models, but that could change this year. A new report from IIHS says they will develop a new rating system "that evaluates the safeguards that vehicles with partial automation employ to help drivers stay focused on the road."

The IIHS will issue the first ratings in 2022, and the 2022 Subaru Forester and 2022 Subaru Outback could be negatively affected. Consumer Reports just announced it would begin awarding points for partially automated driving systems, but only if they have adequate driver monitoring systems. The IIHS says the new Consumer Reports ratings "will factor in IIHS safeguard ratings once they are available,' says the report.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, IIHS

The 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV, 2022 Subaru Outback midsize SUV, and the 2022 Legacy sedan all come with Subaru's DriverFocus safety technology which detects signs of distraction or drowsiness at the wheel. But Consumer Reports says the Subaru safety system doesn't do enough to prevent distracted driving.

Consumer Reports says they will deduct two points from its rating system if a vehicle lacks adequate driver monitoring or fails CR's evaluation. So far, CR says only Ford's BlueCruise and GM's Super Cruise will earn additional points, and the Subaru DriverFocus fails its new safety evaluation.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, IIHS

CR says, "We tested Subaru's DriverFocus camera on a Subaru Outback equipped with the company's EyeSight active driving assistance feature. It can detect driver distraction in some scenarios. Still, it can be completely shut off via the menu, and it is not required to be activated to use a vehicle's driver assistance systems."

Because the IIHS and Consumer Reports work closely on car safety issues, the IIHS will rely heavily on CR's new rating system that determines the best new 2022 models.

The IIHS new safety ratings for safety systems

The IIHS says it is preparing to launch "a new rating program that evaluates the safeguards that vehicles with partial automation employ to help drivers stay focused on the road."

As with its crash tests, this new program will sort cars into four ratings; Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. To earn a Good rating, the IIHS says, "systems will need to ensure that the driver's eyes are directed at the road, and their hands are either on the wheel or ready to grab it at all times."

To win a Good rating, a car's driver monitoring system will need to give drivers an escalating series of warnings if their attention, eyes, or hands drift.

The Subaru trim levels with DriverFocus could now get lower scores from the IIHS because Consumer Reports says the driver monitoring system fails to meet their new requirements. The 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, and 2022 Subaru Legacy will be tested by the IIHS later this year. Stay tuned.

You Might Also Like: New Subaru Forester and Outback Just Failed Consumer Reports’ Latest Safety Testing

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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Della (not verified)    January 23, 2022 - 3:16PM

I have a 2022 Outback Limited and my only complaint is the vents. It’s an excellent car and AWD is amazing. My only other complaint is the nightmare of the dealership I purchased my Outback. If you can find a new one test drive it for yourself, you won’t regret it except that there are not any vents in the backseat area or the rear of the vehicle. Coincidentally it seems to be marketed by Subaru with the accessories to haul your dog in the trunk space. Keep the safe driving features on but maybe revisit the vents.

Ryan Guldbrandsen (not verified)    January 23, 2022 - 4:52PM

I don't understand why the IIHS and CR have anything to do with one another. The IIHS should not be relying on CR rating to determine anything. I hope that if a vehicle has no DMS's are also deducted points. Being able to turn off DMS is not a bad thing. Often they are more distracting than having no DMS. I don't think the technology is there yet, for them to have an affect on scores honestly.