The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) created a roof strength rating system to help customers assess a vehicle's safeness. Roof strength is critical to keeping passengers alive and in the car in the event of a rollover accident, according to a press release issued by the IIHS. The stronger the roof, the less likely it will deform.
More than 10,000 people die in rollover-related accidents. While any vehicle can roll in a crash, SUVs are three times as likely to roll in an accident than a passenger car.
To earn a good rating, the vehicle must have a roof that is more than twice as strong as minimum federal safety standards requirement.
IIHS evaluated 12 2008-2009 SUV models, and found that the Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, Honda Element, and Jeep Patriot earn good ratings--the institute's highest rating. Earning an "acceptable" rating were the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Mitsubishi Outlander. However, the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape--two of the most popular crossover SUV--roofs rated "marginal," and the Kia Sportage earned a "poor" rating.