The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named the Jeep Cherokee a Top Safety Pick for 2019 models built after April of this year that are equipped with front crash prevention technology and high-beam assist on the LED projector headlights, both options.
The midsize SUV earned “good” ratings on all six crashworthiness tests, including driver- and passenger-side front small overlap crashes, which simulate frontal crashes where a vehicle clips a stationary object. Earlier models had earned “marginal” ratings on the former and weren’t tested on the latter. Jeep made changes in its use of high-strength steel on the Cherokee’s A-pillars, front door-hinge pillars and door sills for 2019 that were key to the improved small overlap front crash test results. Those reinforcements added to better driver seat belts in models built after April 2018.
IIHS also gave a “superior” rating to the optional automatic emergency braking system, dubbed Forward Collision Warning-Plus. It uses sensor-fusion technology mixing camera with radar to detect when a collision is imminent, and it helped the Cherokee avoid collisions in track tests of 12 and 25 mph, IIHS says.
Nudging the Cherokee over the line was the available high-beam assist, which couples with the standard LED headlamps and automatically toggles between high- and low-beam function depending on whether other vehicles are present. That option delivered an “acceptable” rating from IIHS. Without it, Cherokee models built after April were deemed “marginal” for their headlights, while those built before May earned a “poor” rating.
Jeep says the improvements are among more than 80 available safety features that will carry over to the 2020 model year.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Ram 1500 earning a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS, becoming the first full-size pickup to earn the designation, thanks to the same options added on models built after April. Somewhere in in Auburn Hills, a big lightbulb came on.