By Andrew Ganz
Wednesday, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 10:21 am
 
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2010 models of the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Kia Sorento, Toyota Highlander and Toyota Venza all performed well enough in the agency's crash test evaluations to receive its top award: Top Safety Pick.

The testing included front, side and rear impacts, as well as a roof strength test designed to simulate the stress put on a vehicle should it roll over. IIHS gave all six of the aforementioned 'utes a strong rating, but it issued some concern over a number of other popular SUVs due to the vehicles' roof strength.

The award goes to Jeep's redesigned 2011 Grand Cherokee, as well as 2010 versions of Kia's Sorento and Toyota's Highlander and Venza. The agency added the stipulation that only Equinoxes and Terrains built after March of 2010 qualify for the top award due to some modifications made during the production run.

IIHS says that the Ford Edge's roof was acceptable, but that 2010 versions of the Honda Accord Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Endeavor, and Nissan Murano all showed enough flex to be rated marginal - the agency's second-to-lowest test score. The Jeep Liberty and related Dodge Nitro performed well in the agency's rollover test but only received a marginal rating for side impacts, so they were unable to qualify for the Top Safety Pick award.

The Grand Cherokee, Equinox, Terrain, Sorento, Highlander and Venza join the Dodge Journey, Lexus RX, Subaru Tribeca and Volvo's XC60 and XC90 as Top Safety Pick winners in the midsize SUV class. IIHS says it hasn't quite finished testing all midsize SUVs, so more names could be added to that list in the future.