According to a new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration brief, SUVs are getting smarter about turning turtle. By its count, around seven out of every ten SUVs contain electronic stability control programs, reducing the likelihood of rollovers. In fact, nearly 70 percent of 2006 model year SUVs have it as standard fit-an impressive leap over last year's 43 percent. In fact, this bit of silicon trickery has led to no fewer than 39 models obtaining a four star rollover resistance rating. Of course, the increasing crop of car-based crossovers (and their attendant lower centers of gravity) likely has something to do with the higher scores as well.
Among this year's four-star class: Chevrolet's HHR (inexplicably classified as an SUV due to its flat load floor), Hyundai Tucson, Honda Pilot, and Suzuki's Grand Vitara, which is currently rolling around in the Autoblog Garage.
Chief SUV rollover risk were the Nissan Xterra 4x4 (25 percent chance of rollover), Chevrolet Tahoe 4x2 and Hummer H3 (24 percent chance)... but even these rated well enough to obtain three-star ratings.
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[Sources: Car & Driver; Volvo]