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Subaru Outback And Ascent Need To Be Better In The New IIHS Night Test

How did the 2022 Subaru Outback and 2022 Subaru Ascent score in the new IIHS nighttime test of pedestrian automatic emergency braking? Both models score in the middle of the pack.

Subaru models have always been popular for their safety features, but how do they score at night? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) introduced a new nighttime test of pedestrian automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems in twenty-three midsize cars, SUVs, and trucks. Only four models earned the highest “Superior” rating according to the IIHS test results. How did the 2022 Subaru Outback midsize SUV and 2022 Subaru Ascent midsize 3-Row SUV score?

The Outback and Ascent score middle of the pack

The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Camry, and Toyota Highlander earn the highest “Superior” rating. The 2022 Subaru Outback and 2022 Subaru Ascent were among seven new vehicles that earned an “Advanced” rating. The other five were the Honda Accord, Hyundai Palisade, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Frontier, and Nissan Murano.

2022 Subaru Outback
photo credit: IIHS

The Outback and Ascent are among the advanced-scoring cars in the test, thanks to their highly effective pedestrian AEB system. The Subaru EyeSight uses a camera and laser sensors to detect pedestrians in the roadway and then applies the brakes automatically if necessary.

The Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Ford Maverick, Ford Ranger, Mazda CX-9, Volkswagen Atlas, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, and Volkswagen Tiguan only earned the lowest “Basic” score.

”It’s discouraging that so many midsize SUVs and small pickups perform poorly in the nighttime test because research suggests these vehicles are more dangerous to pedestrians,” says IIHS President David Harkey.

2022 Subaru Ascent
photo credit: IIHS

The 2022 Subaru Outback and Ascent earned the highest “Superior” rating for the same test during the day, earning them the Top Safety Pick+ award. But the IIHS will now require new vehicles to pass the nighttime test to achieve the highest TSP+ award.

The IIHS says three-quarters of those fatalities occur at night when research shows most pedestrian AEB systems are less effective. Research tests conducted to develop the new IIHS nighttime evaluation showed substantial declines in performance in dark conditions.

The new IIHS nighttime test includes two pedestrian crash scenarios, an adult crossing the road and an adult walking along the road at the edge of the travel lane. The IIHS says the ambient illumination surrounding the test track must remain below 1 lux, about the amount of light cast by a full moon throughout the evaluation. The crossing test is conducted at 12 mph and 25 mph, and the parallel test at 25 and 37 mph.

For systems that use cameras like the EyeSight driver assist safety technology in the Subaru Outback and Ascent, the ratings apply only to vehicles equipped with the specific headlight systems used for the evaluation because the quality of the headlights may also affect performance.

The IIHS says none of the advanced-rated vehicles, including the 2022 Subaru Outback and Subaru Ascent, were able to avoid impacts in the 37 mph parallel scenario. With their high beams, they did avoid hitting the pedestrian in the 12 mph and 25 mph crossing scenario and the 25 mph parallel test. The IIHS says most struggled in those scenarios when using their low beams.

In the new night ratings of pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems, the Subaru Outback and Ascent earn “Advanced” ratings for the new test. An advanced or superior rating in the nighttime test will become a requirement for the Top Safety Pick+ award in 2023, which both Subaru models will still earn.

Both the 2022 Subaru Outback midsize SUV and the 2022 Subaru Ascent 3-Row midsize SUV are excellent choices for anyone looking for a safe and reliable midsize SUV. Their advanced pedestrian AEB systems provide an extra level of safety that you can rely on.

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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