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When you think Subaru, you think safety. The brand has cultivated an image of both capability and safety for generations, with few examples to prove otherwise. But now, the IIHS has challenged the status quo with updated safety tests. Against these more rigorous standards, the Subaru Crosstrek fails in a big way.

Subaru Crosstrek safety flaws revealed by backseat crash test

Every few years, the IIHS updates its safety standards to help raise the playing field for vehicle safety. Without a doubt, that is a good thing, but it also forces automakers to take another look at previously award-winning designs.

Such is the case with the Subaru Crosstrek, which has previously been considered one of the safest cars on the road. And in fact, it still is, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect.

The newest IIHS safety testing standards show that backseat occupants are at a high risk of injury due to both vehicle construction and failing restraints. As such, the Subaru earned the lowest possible safety score in the updated moderate overlap crash test.

How did the Subaru Crosstrek fail new safety tests?

Front angle view of green 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness crossover SUV
2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness | Subaru

There are several areas where the Crosstrek fell short of these updated crash testing standards. For one, the Subaru failed to prevent head and neck injuries, earning a Marginal score in the new safety test. Furthermore, it failed to protect the dummy from chest injuries, earning the lowest possible score of “Poor”.

Furthermore, IIHS rated the Subaru Crosstrek’s rear-seat restraints as Poor as well. In the test, the dummy easily slid out from under the belts. This put the lap belt at the abdomen, where the potential for serious internal injury is highest. Unfortunately, these three poor scores overrode the Crosstrek’s high marks for front seat safety. In turn, the IIHS gave this Subaru an overall Poor safety ranking for front-end collisions.

The Crosstrek also fails new side-impact tests

In addition to the new frontal overlap test, the Subaru Crosstrek also failed new side-impact safety tests. In this test, a heavier sled at higher speeds meant more momentum in the collision. These updated standards have cost several cars their top safety marks, and Subaru is just the latest on the list.

That said, the Crosstrek earned Marginal or Poor scores for its structure and safety cage, driver torso injury, and rear passenger torso injury measurements. The vehicle’s B-Pillar caved significantly, allowing for intrusion into the passenger compartment that heightens the risk of serious injury.

The Crosstrek isn’t alone

Before the pitchforks come out, it’s important to note that the Subaru Crosstrek isn’t the only car falling afoul of new safety standards. Every car tested failed for rear seat dummy kinematics and seat belt safety with the same “Poor” score. Furthermore, both the Nissan Sentra and KIA Forte join the Subaru with Poor overall rankings. Both of those models also earned low marks for head, neck, and chest injuries.

Updates will be coming

Each time a testing agency ups the stakes, the manufacturers will follow. In this case, we expect that Subaru will look at safety test results and reinforce these areas to get back to the top of the safety pylon. Still, it’s a rare poor safety score for a brand that is built on its reputation for exactly the opposite.

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