3 Jeep SUVs Fail to Impress in Consumer Reports Rear-Seat Safety Testing

Though some Jeep SUVs suffer from poor reliability, many are still good family vehicles. The luxurious Wagoneer has ample seating for up to eight people, even in the third row. And the spacious Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L boast updated technology to keep riders comfortable and entertained. However, Consumer Reports has revealed a concerning weak spot in these Jeep SUVs. All three received troubling scores on the site’s recent rear-seat safety tests. Here’s why these Jeep models didn’t meet CR’s standards.

How does Consumer Reports judge rear-seat safety?

Consumer Reports says it prioritizes child safety during its rear-seat testing. Testers examine how securely a booster or regular car seat fits into any given vehicle. They also pay special attention to LATCH accessibility and the number of boosters and car seats that can fit across the vehicle’s rear rows.

CR also examines the safety belts and head restraints in the second and third rows. If the belts are secure and comfortable, the car gets a higher score. CR also awards extra points to vehicles with side airbags.

Many modern vehicles now have rear-seat alerts to prevent parents from accidentally leaving children in hot cars. CR gives a higher rear-seat safety rating to models that have this feature. Testers also consider a vehicle safer than others if it has an alarm telling rear-seat passengers to buckle up.

However, Consumer Reports notes that models that perform poorly on these tests aren’t dangerous. “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,” says Emily A. Thomas, an automotive safety engineer at CR (via Twitter).

3 Jeep SUVs received poor scores in CR’s rear-seat safety testing

Jeep SUVs: Consumer Reports rear-seat safety tests
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve (front), Overland, and Trailhawk | Stellantis

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most underwhelming SUVs in terms of rear-seat safety scores from Consumer Reports. This midsize crossover lacks a rear seatbelt reminder function, and the belts don’t have pretensioners or other adjustment options. Jeep states the rear occupant reminder will chime only when you park the car and turn off the engine.

According to Consumer Reports, putting a booster in the second-row center seat covers one of the seatbelt buckles. Also, highback boosters can’t rest safely against the front seatbacks. However, the longer Jeep Grand Cherokee L has captain’s chairs in the second row, remedying the first problem.

But it still can’t accommodate a booster seat in the captain’s chairs unless the booster is backless. The Grand Cherokee L also shares the same underwhelming reminder function as its shorter sibling. However, both SUVs earned good scores for head restraints and the fit of child seats.

Additionally, CR testers note that the Jeep Wagoneer doesn’t have advanced rear restraints or a rear-seat reminder that can sense when someone is sitting in the backseat. But parents should have no problem securing forward-facing child seats using seatbelts. However, CR says the LATCH system’s belt-anchor spacing makes it difficult to install rear-facing infant seats in both rear rows.

SUVs with the highest rear-seat safety scores from Consumer Reports

Among the SUVs with the highest marks on CR’s rear-seat safety tests is the Nissan Rogue. CR says its second row accommodates booster seats and regular car seats well. Testers were also satisfied with this compact crossover’s head restraints and rear-seat reminder.

The Rogue’s larger sibling, the Nissan Pathfinder three-row SUV, offers the same perks and highly adjustable seatbelts. 

Another SUV that impressed CR is the Toyota Venza. This two-row midsize crossover can easily accommodate child seats, but it’s not the most booster-friendly. Its rear seat reminder also doesn’t have any advanced sensing technology.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E also boasts good scores in rear-seat safety testing. However, CR notes its belt-anchor spacing is a little too wide, so testers struggled with the LATCH connectors. But once a booster seat or child seat is secured, it sits firmly in place for the entire drive.

Last among the top-scoring SUVs are the four-door Ford Bronco SUV and its smaller Bronco Sport crossover. Both showcased impressive rear-seat safety ratings.

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