Jeep Wrangler is first vehicle to tip over in small overlap crash test -- twice

Needless to say, part of the Wrangler's IIHS crash test exam didn't go over well.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read

The redesigned Jeep Wrangler had its date with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety last week, and let's just say it didn't go very well. The IIHS says the Wrangler is the first vehicle to ever tip over during the driver-side small overlap front crash test.

IIHS released its findings following its standard barrage of crash tests on Thursday, and the driver-side small overlap front crash test resulted in the Wrangler actually tipping over not once, but twice. The SUV strikes the barrier at 40 mph and simply turns over on its side before coming to a halt at the barriers. It's not a pretty sight.

According to the insurance industry-funded safety body, it chose the 2019 Wrangler during a routine audit program, which the entity runs to verify automaker crash tests. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Jeep's parent automaker, submitted results showing the SUV did not tip over during its own test.

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After IIHS ran its first test, which ended with the SUV tipping over, FCA questioned the results, according to the safety watchdog. The automaker said the results were perhaps skewed due to the way the watchdog hooked up the crash propulsion system rig. The IIHS agreed to retest the Wrangler with a different method that received FCA's approval, but the Wrangler again tipped on its side.

FCA tells Roadshow in a statement, "FCA has produced more than 500,000 of these vehicles. From this population, we are unaware of any incidents that correlate with the vehicle dynamic portion of the IIHS test result. With more than 75 available safety and security features, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited meets or exceeds all federal safety standards and continues to win acclaim from news organizations and consumer groups."

The poor showing in the crash test led IIHS to give the 2019-2020 Wrangler a Marginal rating in this particular crash test, one rung above the worst rating, Poor. The safety body explained rollover crashes increase the likelihood of passengers partially ejected from the vehicle. While the Wrangler didn't entirely roll over, it was still concerning to IIHS because the Wrangler's doors and roof are removable. It's worth noting the last-generation SUV earned a Good rating and did not tip over during the safety group's testing.

In other tests, the Wrangler earned top Good marks in the moderate overlap front, side, roof and head restraint evaluations.

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First published May 8.