After subjecting a dozen new mid-size sport utility vehicles to its grueling battery of passenger-protection crash tests -- including its first-ever roof-strength/rollover evaluations for this category -- the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named five as worthy of its latest Top Safety Pick honors. Earning this premier accolade are the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox (and its GMC Terrain cousin), the 2010 Toyota Highlander and Venza, as well as the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Kia Sorento.
The IIHS's newly added roof strength rollover test yielded a mixed bag of results. All of the Top Safety Pick winners along with the 2010 Jeep Liberty and its Dodge Nitro twin-beneath-the-skin earned "good" ratings while the 2010 Ford Edge received an "acceptable" mark. However, the Honda Accord Crosstour and Pilot, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Endeavor and Nissan Murano -- all 2010 models -- were pegged as "marginal." In order to qualify for consideration as a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn "good" ratings for occupant protection in the case of front, side, rear and rollover crashes as well a be fitted with standard electronic stability control.