Safest small SUVs

Four small SUVs aced new Insurance Institute Crash tests. Four others didn't do so well.

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Top Safety Pick Award
Top Safety Pick Award
Volksagen Tiguan in Insurance Institute front crash test.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is funded by insurance companies, recently completed crash tests on eight new or redesigned small SUVs. Four of them -- the Volkswagen Tiquan, Ford Escape, Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan Rogue -- earned the Institute's Top Safety Pick award.

That means they got the best possible rating of "Good" for front and side impact protection as well for whiplash protection in rear impacts. (Possible ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor.")'

Vehicles also must have Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as, at least, an available option to receive the award. ESC is a computer-controlled system that helps drivers maintain control during abrupt emergency maneuvers, especially on slippery roads.

The Honda CR-V, Honda Element and Subaru Forester small SUVs have already received the Top Safety Pick Award in previous rounds of testing.

In this latest round of crash tests, the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Jeep Patriot, Chevrolet Equinox and 2-door Jeep Wrangler did not earn the award.

NEXT: Volkswagen Tiguan

Last updated August 21 2008: 11:15 AM ET
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