According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), rear passenger protection "falls short" in most midsize SUVs. While the vehicles may offer excellent protection for the driver, that's not the case with people in the back seat. However, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y are among a short list of exceptions.

As you may know, the IIHS updates its crash tests and requirements, along with adding new tests periodically. The organization just recently tested a number of midsize SUVs and shared the details and results in the video above. IIHS President David Harkey shares:

“All these vehicles provide excellent protection for the driver, but only a handful extend that level of safety to the back seat.”

The crash test is an update of the IIHS' moderate overlap front crash test. The update adds a rear crash-test dummy behind the driver's seat to see how well the second-row passenger is protected during the front crash evaluation.

Only four of the thirteen midsize SUVs tested were able to secure a top rating from the IIHS. In addition to the Model Y and Mustang Mach-E, the Ford Explorer and Subaru Ascent also earned the top rating of "Good" for the new test. Meanwhile, three SUVs earned the second-lowest "Marginal" rating and six received a "Poor." IIHS Senior Research Engineer Marcy Edwards said:

“Zeroing in on weaknesses in rear seat safety is an opportunity to make big gains in a short time, since solutions that are already proven to work in the front can successfully be adapted for the rear. The four good ratings in this round of testing show that some automakers are already doing it.”

It's also important to note that the Mustang Mach-E was the only SUV tested that earned the top ratings across all 11 categories of the new test. Meanwhile, the Model Y got the top score in 10 of the 11 categories. The Tesla earned the second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the "rear passenger restraints and kinetics" category because the "rear dummy’s head approached the front seatback, which increases the risk of head injuries."

The 2023 Mustang Mach-E is considered a 2022 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. It earned the top rating in every category, aside from "Seat belts and child restraints," in which it earned the second-best rating of "Acceptable." However, "Marginal" headlights on some trims kept it from getting the coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation.

The 2023 Tesla Model Y is designated by the IIHS as a 2023 Top Safety Pick+. It earned the same Acceptable rating as the Mach-E for its seat belts and child restraints, but all trims have headlights that are either considered Good or Acceptable.

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