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Is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee safe? One look at the IIHS crash test ratings may have you thinking that it’s not. While the Grand Cherokee has a longstanding reputation as a solid, sturdy SUV, two key areas in its IIHS crash test results stand out as being particularly concerning. Let’s take a look at what may cause you to think twice about buying the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

A red 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee driving at the edge of the ocean.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee | Jeep

Is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee a safe SUV?

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee only gets a marginal rating in the overall small overlap front: driver side test. Within the subcategories, the safety and structure cage also only gets a marginal rating. Safety cages are meant to withstand a crash. They work in conjunction with crush zones which distribute the energy from a crash in a way which should reduce the impact to people in the car. These crash zones are in the middle of the front of the car, which is why it’s important to test the outer edges of the car. 

In accidents like the small overlap crashes tested, the crash energy goes into those front corners. This can include the wheel wells, which can then be pushed into the vehicle. This can cause injury to the driver and passengers in the vehicle. The small overlap tests determine how well the safety cage does when the force on a car isn’t on the crush zones.

How do IIHS crash safety tests work?

The small overlap tests are designed to keep you safer in a frontal crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit organization that tries to minimize accidents, deaths, and destruction related to motor vehicle crashes. Part of the way they do this is by crash testing vehicles and publishing the results. This allows consumers to make informed decisions about the vehicles they’re considering purchasing. It also encourages car manufacturers to make their vehicles safer.

The small overlap test is conducted to measure how well a car does when the front left corner of the vehicle hits something like a tree or another car. The IIHS first started doing these tests in 2012. 

Frontal crashes result in more deaths than any type of car accident. To conduct the small overlap frontal tests, the IIHS has a vehicle travel at 40 mph and the front left or right portion of the car (depending on whether it’s the driver or passenger test) strikes a five-foot barrier. Small overlap tests are important because they test how well the airbags and seatbelts do, especially because the vehicle occupants move forward and sideways at the same time. 

Obviously, a marginal rating isn’t exactly a selling point for a vehicle. And things only get worse for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

The small overlap front: passenger side is even worse

If the driver side small overlap test in the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee crash test ratings are concerning, the passenger side is even worse. Once the IIHS started conducting the driver side small overlap crash test, car manufacturers responded by making the driver side safer. Not all of them made the passenger side safer, so the IIHS started testing the passenger side also. (That’s why independent testing is so important.)

The overall evaluation of the passenger side small overlap front: passenger side is poor, which is the worst rating a vehicle can get. The structure and safety cage is only marginal. Within the passenger injury measures, the head/neck gets an acceptable rating, while the lower leg/foot gets a poor rating. Additionally, the passenger restraints and dummy kinematics are poor. 

Is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee safe? These Jeep Grand Cherokee crash test ratings certainly don’t make it seem so. If you’re looking at the Grand Cherokee, you should be aware of these marginal and poor safety ratings. Then you can make an informed decision about which SUV you want to purchase. With so many great choices on the market, don’t feel limited in your options.


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