26 Feb 19

Small SUVs rated for pedestrian crash avoidance

Nine of 11 B-segment SUVs tested by the US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety were rated as “advanced” or “superior” in avoiding pedestrian crashes. The BMW X1 performed poorly enough to not be rated at all.

In a series of tests, the IIHS assessed how the vehicles’ automatic emergency braking systems were at detecting and braking for people on foot. Autobraking systems are an important countermeasure to address the problem of the number of pedestrian deaths in traffic, which has gone up 45% in the US since hitting their lowest point in 2019.

Earlier this year, the European Union and Japan gave their support to a UN proposal mandating automatic braking in all new light vehicles by 2020.


The tests addressed three common pedestrian crash scenarios.

"The first scenario involves an adult pedestrian on the right side of the road entering the street in the path of an oncoming vehicle. This is the most common type of crash involving a pedestrian," explains David Aylor, the Institute's manager of Active Safety Testing.

"The second test simulates a child darting into the street from behind two parked vehicles. As a dad, I know this is every parent's nightmare," Aylor says.

"The third test scenario replicates an adult walking in the vehicle's travel lane near the edge of the road. The adult's back is turned away from traffic."

Vehicles are scored according to their average speed reductions in five repeated test runs on dry pavement. Tests are conducted at 12mph (19km/h) and 25mph (40km/h) in the perpendicular adult and child scenarios, and at 25mph and 37mph (60km/h) in the parallel adult scenario.

The four superior-rated and five advanced-rated SUVs had significant speed reductions in every scenario. That meant the SUVs almost avoided and, in some cases, did avoid striking the pedestrian dummies.

"The best possible outcome is to avoid hitting a pedestrian altogether," Aylor says. "When a crash is unavoidable, sharply reducing a vehicle's travel speed would give someone on foot a far greater chance of surviving any injuries in a similar real-world encounter with a passenger vehicle."

The BMW X1 did not meet any of the test parameters and was not rated.



  • Honda CR-V
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Volvo XC40


  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Kia Sportage
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Nissan Rogue


  • Mitsubishi Outlander

No rating

  • BMW X1

Image: the BMW X1 did not meet any of the test parameters (source: IIHS)

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck