In the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) seat belt reminder evaluations of twenty-six SUVs tested, the 2022 Subaru Forester and 2022 Ascent are the only two models to earn the highest rating.
The IIHS wants automakers to include better seat belt reminders, so drivers and passengers remember to buckle up. Only the Forester and Ascent earned the highest ”Good” rating in the recent evaluations of compact and midsize SUVs.
To earn a “Good” rating, a seat belt reminder system must generate an audible signal and visual alert on the dashboard display, overhead panel, or center console when the vehicle is moving at least six mph. The system detects an unbelted occupant in one of the front-row seating positions or the unfastening of a second-row belt that was previously buckled.
How did the other twenty-four SUVs score?
Five others, the Hyundai Palisade, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Murano, Nissan Pathfinder, and Nissan Rogue, earn acceptable ratings.
Seven more are rated marginal: the Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-5, Mazda CX-9, Toyota RAV4, and Toyota Highlander.
Twelve others receive a poor rating: the Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, Honda CR-V, Honda HR-V, Honda Pilot, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Volkswagen Atlas, and Volvo XC40.
The new IIHS rating program aims to push manufacturers to improve their seat belt reminders to save 1,500 lives a year.
Everyone knows seatbelts save lives. IIHS President David Harkey says, “Our research shows that effective seat belt reminders can also save lives by getting those who aren’t diligent about belt use to buckle up. These new ratings are designed to push manufacturers to realize that potential.”
The IIHS says the “Good” rated Subaru Forester chime seems twice as loud. The standard red seat belt icon appears on the instrument panel, along with another one that indicates that the second-row seat belts are not fastened. The reminder tone does not stop chirping until the driver is buckled in.
“The gold standard is an alert that’s impossible to ignore,” says IIHS Senior Test Coordinator Sean O’Malley, who conducted the evaluations.
You know this is true if you’ve driven a new Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, or Ascent. The seatbelt reminder is so annoying, and you have to buckle up.
According to the latest seat belt reminder evaluations, the 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV and 2022 Ascent 3-Row SUV are the only two models to earn the IIHS’ highest “Good” rating. The two SUVs receive the highest rating for audible and visual alerts.
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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 of Wichita