2019 Jeep Cherokee Gets a Top Safety Rating (With a Bunch of Conditions)

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced today that the 2019 Jeep Cherokee earned a Top Safety Pick award — the agency’s second-highest honor — but there’s a lot more to the story. Only models of the SUV with the optional front crash prevention system and optional headlights qualify, and only if those models were built after April 2019.

Related: What’s the Best Compact SUV of 2019?

To qualify for the designation, the Cherokee had to earn good scores in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.  That’s in addition to an acceptable or good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test; the Cherokee earned a good score in this difficult test.

A vehicle must also earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and be equipped with acceptable or good headlights — and it’s here where things get murky for the model. The Cherokee’s front crash prevention system earned a superior rating — IIHS said it successfully avoided collisions in 12- and 25-mph tests — but the system is optional.

Similarly, only models built after April that are equipped with the optional high-beam assist system earn an acceptable headlight rating. Vehicles without the system earn a poor rating in headlights.

The Cherokee was updated for 2019, and IIHS said the alterations made a big difference in the SUV’s scores.

“For 2019, Jeep modified the A-pillars, front door-hinge pillars and door sills to provide better protection in moderate and small overlap crashes. A change to the driver seat belt in vehicles built after April 2018 was aimed at adding further protection in small overlap crashes,” the agency said in a statement.

In terms of competition, many other compact SUVs offer standard front-crash prevention systems, like the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4. For 2019, both of those models earned IIHS’ Top Safety Pick Plus award, the agency’s highest designation.

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