The IIHS published its most recent crash test results for the 2022 Jeep Wrangler and the results are not good.
The Wrangler received a marginal score in the small overlap crash test, in which it fell on its side, and in the side impact test. This is the second to worse rating available in the IIHS’ tests.
This is surprising since the Wrangler’s performance is actually worse than the last time it was tested, back in 2019. Indeed, in that series of tests, the side impact protection was rated as Good, the highest rating given by the IIHS.
The difference this time is that the dummy seated in the rear hit its head on the door’s window frame with enough force to potentially cause serious injuries. The worse performance is most likely due to the fact that the agency updated its side-impact test to better reflect the actual collisions seen on the road, which made it more demanding.
The more spectacular failure, however, was in the small overlap test. This is one of the most challenging tests vehicles have to face because only a very small part of the structure hits the crash barrier, which means that the whole force of the collision is localized entirely on the corner of the vehicle instead of being dissipated throughout the width of the front end.
In this situation, the Wrangler’s front wheel tucked under the floor and pushed it up under the driver’s feet far enough to warrant a poor rating on leg and foot protection, the worse possible rating.
In addition, the Wrangler completely flipped on its side immediately after hitting the barrier, something that happens only rarely in the IIHS’ tests.
Since the Wrangler had done the same thing back in 2019, the engineers at Stellantis have apparently made modifications to the 4×4’s frontal structure to avoid a rollover, but they don’t seem to have been effective.
Apart from the floor, the Wrangler’s structure did a good job protecting the occupants and the restraints kept the dummies in place even while the vehicle was lying on its side, but the fact that it didn’t remain upright docked a lot of points in its ranking.
Indeed, the vehicle being on its side could trap the passengers inside or at least make it more difficult for them to exit, especially if they are injured.
In addition to these disappointing results, the Wrangler’s headlamps have also received the agency’s criticisms, with three of the four available headlamps raking poor and the most expensive option managing only a marginal rating.
Dedicated 4x4s like the Jeep Wrangler are usually less safe than street-focused SUVs, but this didn’t stop the new Ford Bronco (the most direct competitor to the Wrangler) from getting a Good ranking in the small overlap front crash test.
Source: IIHS (Youtube.com)