IIHS adds new rating for roof strength

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) created a roof strength rating system to help customers assess a vehicle's safeness.

The Honda Element earned the highest safety rating from IIHS for roof strength. The Honda CRV? Not so much.
The Honda Element earned the highest safety rating from IIHS for roof strength. The Honda CRV? Not so much. Honda

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.

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