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Mid-Size SUVs: The Good And Bad When It Comes To Safety

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008 | 10:25 AM ET
CNBC.com

The newest crash test study of mid-size SUVs has both good and bad news for those who drive these big rigs. And for some HUMMER owners, you have to be wondering if the "safe as a tank" perception some have of your ride is truly deserving.

The good news? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest crash testsfound 8 of 9 mid-size SUVs earned a "Good" rating in front end collisions. That's a big improvement from the Institutes last test in 2001 where only half the mid-size sport utes rated "Good."

The bad news? For the first time, the Institute tested side and rear-impact crash protection, and automakers have to make their sport utes perform better. Especially in rear-impact, where only 2 of 9 got a "Good" rating.

The institute's top pick is the Nissan Murrano, while the HUMMER tests raise troubling questions. The H3 earned acceptable ratings for front and side crash tests, and a poor rating for rear impact. Makes you wonder about the perception many have of the HUMMER as being a virtual tank on the road that will always protect you.

Now, the automakers point out their SUVs pass government crash tests and meet safety standards. That's true. But these tests make me realize that as far as these mid-size sport ute's have come safety wise, there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Here's the link to the study if you missed it up top.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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