IIHS has finally crash-tested the Jeep Wrangler - and it didn't go well.
The Jeep Wrangler is a highly capable off-roader, but it has a dismal safety reputation. Back in 2018, the 2019 Jeep Wrangler was awarded a one-star safety rating by Euro NCAP due to its lack of standard safety assists such as automatic emergency braking and lane assistance. Australia's ANCAP also gave the Jeep Wrangler a terrible one-star safety rating, citing structural issues.
In the US, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety haven't crash-tested the Jeep Wrangler, despite North America being the off-roader's biggest market. This has finally changed, however, as the IIHS has tested the 2019-20 Jeep Wrangler to destruction - and it didn't go well.
The Jeep Wrangler was subjected to three separate driver-side small overlap crash tests - one by Fiat Chrysler and two at the Institute's Vehicle Research Center. In both IIHS tests, the Wrangler rolled onto its passenger side after hitting the test barrier, earning it an overall 'Marginal' safety rating.
The IIHS notes that the Wrangler "performed well by the normal metrics used to evaluate performance in the driver-side small overlap test" as the driver's space was "maintained well", and the dummy's movement was "well-controlled". However, the fact it tipped over onto its side during the overlap crash test poses an obvious safety risk - especially as the Wrangler has a removable roof and doors, increasing the risk of occupants being ejected from the SUV during a crash. The IIHS concluded that "a vehicle tipping onto its side is not an acceptable outcome for a frontal crash." As a result, the Wrangler's overall safety rating was downgraded to marginal.
During Fiat Chrysler's test, the Wrangler did not tip over. After the Wrangler tipped over during the first IIHS crash test, Fiat Chrysler questioned whether this was caused by the way that IIHS engineers attached the SUV to the crash propulsion system. IIHS agreed to conduct a second test using a different method approved by Fiat Chrysler, but this also resulted in the Wrangler rolling onto its side.
As for the other crash test evaluations, the Wrangler earned 'good' ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof and head restraint evaluations. The Wrangler is also available with an optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system that earned a superior rating. During testing, it avoided collisions at 12 and 25 mph. However, the Wrangler was awarded poor ratings for its base halogen headlights and premium LED projector headlights.