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Ford Bronco falls short of IIHS safety awards, but passes toughest test

The SUV's headlights and head restraints kept it short of a Top Safety Pick award.

Ford Bronco crash test
The Bronco did very well overall. Just not well enough to get an award.

The Ford Bronco will not wear a coveted Top Safety Pick banner after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released the SUV's final scores on Wednesday. The SUV aced five of the six crash tests with top-rated Good marks, but an Acceptable rating in the head restraint test was its downfall. To qualify for a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn a Good rating in all six tests.

Still, the Bronco's boxy figure passed the crucial driver- and passenger-side small overlap frontal crash tests, which is a tough ask for some new cars. Overall, even without the award, the SUV is a safe machine. The IIHS only noted the neck of its test dummy "was subject to moderate force in a simulated rear-end test."

The other area the Bronco came up short was its headlights, which the IIHS also takes into consideration for either a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus award. For the lesser award, a vehicle must offer at least one set of Good or Acceptable headlights. The SUV's two headlight systems only received Marginal ratings due to low beams that do not illuminate a long enough distance on curves. The SUV did earn Superior and Advanced ratings for its vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash-avoidance technology.