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Ford Explorer, other midsize SUVs fall short in passenger-side safety tests

Workers perform final inspections on 2015 Ford Explorers on the assembly line at the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant. | AP file photo

Only three out of eight midsize SUVS received “good” ratings following a recent passenger-side safety crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The 2018 Ford Explorer received the worst ratings overall and was the only vehicle whose structure was rated “poor,” according to a news release from the institute. The Explorer, assembled in Chicago, is slated for a redesign that will include better protection on both sides.

The crash test significantly damaged the Ford Explorer body and showed a high chance of passenger injuries, according to Tuesday’s news release.

The 2019 Kia Sorento, 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and 2018 GMC Acadia were the three vehicles to get the best ratings, although the institute noted that the Acadia “wasn’t flawless.”

The 2018 Toyota Highlander, 2018 Nissan Pathfinder and 2018 Honda Pilot were rated “average.”

Like the Ford Explorer, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee was also rated “poor” by the institute.

The result of the Grand Cherokee test was “alarming” as it showed a likelihood of right leg and head injury, the release said.

While the institute began rating vehicles for driver protection in 2012, it implemented further tests last year for passenger-side safety.

The simulated tests for “small overlap crashes” involve the front of a vehicle striking another vehicle or object.

The institute’s highest safety award requires a vehicle not only to score a “good” or “acceptable” rating, but also to achieve other standards in crashworthiness, crash prevention and headlight ratings.

Only the Sorento qualified for the award.