It sustained $3,317 damage in the 5 mph rear-into-pole impact alone. Intrusion of the spare tire mounted on the back of this SUV crushed both of the rear tailgates and shattered the glass. “This is a very poor performer. The Trooper is the worst midsize SUV we’ve ever tested,” Brian O’Neill – IIHS notes.

ARLINGTON, VA – Insurance Institute For Highway Safety Some manufacturers are improving the bumpers on automobiles so consumers are less likely to face expensive repairs from low-speed collisions, but these improvements aren’t carrying over to pickup trucks or sport SUVs.


Sales brochures for the Trooper point to its “endurance” and claim its “tough enough to haul a 5,000 pound trailer.” O’Neill counters that the Trooper “isn’t tough enough to withstand a simple impact at little more than walking speed without thousands of dollars worth of damage. It’s tough enough to tow a heavy trailer, but don’t bump this vehicle into anything in reverse because it’s so fragile.”

No Damage-Resistance Requirements

One reason SUVs perform so poorly is that they aren’t subject to any requirements to prevent damage in low-speed impacts. Automobile bumpers have to meet federal standards in 2.5 mph impacts, and most of the bumper systems on cars include foam or other material to absorb crash energy. “But the bumpers on most SUVs don’t have anything effective to absorb energy,” O’Neill says.

“SUVs may be advertised as rugged. Manufacturers tell potential buyers they can drive these vehicles anywhere adventure leads them. But consumers can expect big repair bills if they’re unlucky enough to bump these so-called rugged vehicles into something at slow speeds,” O’Neill concludes.

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