Most Small SUVs Are Bad at Automatic Emergency Braking, IIHS Says

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By Car Brand Experts


Most Small SUVs Fail Automatic Emergency Braking Test, IIHS Reports


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently revealed the results of its new automatic emergency braking test, uncovering the performance of various small SUV models. The evaluation aimed to assess the efficiency of these vehicles in preventing crashes through advanced safety technologies.

SUV Performance in the Test

Ten popular small SUVs, including the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4, underwent the IIHS automatic emergency braking test. Shockingly, only one SUV, the Subaru Forester, received a “Good” rating. The Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 followed with an “Acceptable” rating. However, the majority of the tested SUVs fell short, with ratings ranging from “Marginal” to “Poor,” indicating subpar performance in emergency braking situations.

Importance of Automatic Emergency Braking

Automatic emergency braking systems are designed to warn drivers of potential collisions and autonomously apply brakes when necessary to prevent accidents. With advancements in technology, the IIHS raised the test speeds to 31, 37, and 43 mph to match the evolving capabilities of modern vehicles. The intention is to enhance safety measures and reduce the occurrence of severe front-to-rear crashes.

The Test Process

During the test, vehicles were driven at set speeds towards different obstacles, including an inflatable motorcycle, an inflatable car, and a real semi-truck trailer. While drivers managed to avoid crashing into the semi-truck trailer, collisions with the inflatable dummies demonstrated limitations in the vehicles’ braking capabilities at higher speeds.


Despite the effectiveness of automatic emergency braking systems in providing early warnings, the test revealed significant room for improvement in preventing crashes entirely. This underscores the importance of ongoing technological advancements to enhance road safety and protect vehicle occupants.


As safety technologies evolve, the IIHS continues to refine its assessments to ensure the effectiveness of features like automatic emergency braking in preventing collisions. The recent tests bring attention to the varying performances of small SUVs and highlight the need for continued advancements in vehicle safety systems to mitigate the risks of accidents.


1. What is automatic emergency braking?

Automatic emergency braking is an advanced safety feature in vehicles that can detect potential collisions and automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not respond in time to prevent a crash.

2. Why are small SUVs being tested for automatic emergency braking capabilities?

Small SUVs are popular vehicles on the roads, and assessing their performance in emergency braking scenarios is crucial for enhancing overall road safety and reducing the severity of accidents.

3. Which SUV received the highest rating in the IIHS test?

The Subaru Forester was the only small SUV to receive a “Good” rating in the IIHS automatic emergency braking test, showcasing superior performance in preventing crashes.

4. How does the IIHS test the automatic emergency braking systems?

The IIHS test involves driving test vehicles towards stationary objects at varying speeds to evaluate the effectiveness of their automatic emergency braking systems in real-world scenarios.

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