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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — They’re aimed at curbing injuries and deaths when drivers are involved in a crash. But new crash tests show that you might not be as protected as you think when riding in some mid-size SUVs.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashed mid-size SUVs into a barrier at 40 miles per hour to see which ones performed best in a frontal crash, Of nine models, only the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain received the highest rating. The Toyota Highlander was rated acceptable.

The crash tests show what could happen if just a small portion of the vehicle crashes into another vehicle or object, like a utility pole or tree.

Adrian Lund, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says, “This kind of crash, a small overlap where just the corner of the front of your vehicle is involved, accounted for about 25 percent of the remaining serious injuries in front crashes.

The Institute declared the Honda Pilot the worst performer. The Mazda CX-9 and the Kia Sorrento also rated poorly. The Ford Explorer, Toyota 4-Runner and Jeep Cherokee got marginal ratings.

Researchers say the results show manufacturers what improvements they need to make. According to Lund, “They need to beef up the occupant compartment, to make sure it doesn’t collapse when all this force comes back to it.”

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