2 Hyundai SUVs Disappoint in Consumer Reports Rear-Seat Safety Testing

Hyundai is one of the most popular automakers in the United States, and it’s earned those sales by selling excellent vehicles at reasonable prices. However, although the South Korean brand is typically known for safety and reliability, two Hyundai SUVs scored poorly in Consumer Reports’ new rear-seat safety testing. Here’s how the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2022 Hyundai Tucson performed.

Consumer Reports recently introduced rear-seat safety testing 

2022 Hyundai Tucson: Consumer Reports rear-seat safety testing
2022 Hyundai Tucson rear seat | Hyundai Motor Company

Consumer Reports says it introduced the rear-seat safety score for cars in 2021 and will continue expanding the ratings. The idea behind the rear-seat safety score is to measure rider safety for children and adults. It uses results from child-safety tests and factors in any features affecting rear-seat safety. 

CR evaluates cars in six rear-seat safety categories. Three are specific to children, while the others relate to adults:

  1. Car-seat fit — how easy it is to install a child car seat and how many car seats a user can install. 
  2. Booster-seat use — the ease of fitting a booster seat, including whether kids can buckle themselves easily.
  3. Rear-occupant alert — whether a car has features that could prevent hot-car deaths.
  4. Advanced rear restraints — including seat-belt pretensioners and airbags.
  5. Rear head restraints — whether rear center seats don’t have a head restraint or have one that’s too low.
  6. Rear-seat minders — audible warnings that require passengers to buckle up before the alert stops.

Consumer Reports stresses that just because a model scores poorly on these tests doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. According to Emily A. Thomas, an automotive safety engineer at CR, “The message from our new rear-seat safety testing is not that vehicles with lower scores are unsafe, but that they do not offer the same comparative margin of protection as those vehicles that earn higher marks.”

These 2 Hyundai SUVs did not perform well on CR’s rear-seat safety tests

Despite their reputation as family-friendly Hyundai SUVs, the 2022 Santa Fe and 2022 Tucson did not score well in Consumer Reports’ rear-seat safety testing. They weren’t the worst, but they ranked near the bottom. The Santa Fe performed better than the Tucson because the midsize SUV scored well in child car safety. For example, the Santa Fe scored higher in child-seat fit, but it was similar to the Tucson in the other categories.

Both the Santa Fe and the Tucson did well in rear-occupant alerts and rear head restraints. However, they performed abysmally regarding rear-seat reminders and advanced rear restraints. In comparison, other automakers known for their safety, such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, did well on these tests. That said, three other Hyundai models scored worse than the Santa Fe and Tucson: the Santa Cruz compact pickup, the Elantra compact car, and the Ioniq 5 electric crossover.

These 5 SUVs earned high scores in rear-seat safety testing

The SUV with the best rear-seat safety score is the Nissan Rogue. It performed well in all categories but excelled in child-seat fit. The Nissan Pathfinder follows its smaller sibling by a tight margin. The Pathfinder also scored well overall but excelled in rear head restraints.

Though Toyota, Honda, and Nissan dominate the list, Ford boasts two SUVs with good rear-seat safety scores. The Mustang Mach-E trails close behind the Pathfinder. That said, the Mustang Mach-E performed well in all categories, but it didn’t earn exceptionally high scores in any particular area. Likewise, the Ford Bronco received all-around solid scores.

The last SUV that performed well is the Toyota Venza. It has good scores overall but didn’t do particularly well in advanced rear restraints. 

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