With the huge number of SUVs in the used vehicle market, it can be a bit daunting to make the best choice. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of safety, especially when the SUV has to serve as a family vehicle.

Combing through the lists of SUVs from prior model years with only “marginal” or only “acceptable” ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), we’ve come up with the following 10 used SUVs with poor safety ratings you should probably steer clear of.

2010-2012 Nissan PathfinderThe midsize 2010-2012 Nissan Pathfinder, which has good storage and passenger capacity and a number of other appealing features, does have something consumers don’t really want or need: a “marginal” rating from the IIHS in both roof strength and head restraints and seats.

2010-2013 Nissan XterraWhile it doesn’t receive a failing grade, only getting an “acceptable” rating from the IIHS means the 2010-2013 Nissan Xterra off-road SUV loses out on the coveted Top Safety Pick status consumers in the know look for. The Xterra also received a “marginal” rating for head restraints and seats.

2010-2012 Toyota 4RunnerAnother off-road champ and also a midsize SUV, the 2010-2012 Toyota 4Runner has a similar “acceptable” IIHS safety rating. Again, not an SUV with strong safety scores for consumers concerned about this all-important vehicle attribute.

2010-2012 Toyota FJ CruiserCute, distinctive and very capable off-road, the 2010-2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser lacks top-tier status when it comes to IIHS safety, achieving only “acceptable” rating.

2013-2014 Ford EscapeIt’s the top-selling small SUV so far in 2014, but buyers of used 2013-2014 Ford Escape models may be disappointed to learn that the vehicle earned only a “poor” IIHS rating in the small overlap front crash test.

2012-2013 Honda CR-VSpeaking of top-selling small SUVs, the number two vehicle on the list is the Honda CR-V. Buyers of used 2012-2013 Honda CR-V models need to know it received a “marginal” rating from the IIHS in the small overlap front crash test and possibly steer clear of this otherwise very capable small SUV. While it received a Top Safety Pick status when it was first introduced in 2011, reports are that Honda hasn’t said if it’s reworking the CR-V to do better in the new and more stringent IIHS tests.

2011-2014 Jeep PatriotIt’s bad news on the safety front for the 2011-2014 Jeep Patriot, which achieved a “poor” rating in the IIHS small overlap front crash test. The 2011-2013 Patriot also received a “marginal” rating for side crashworthiness without optional side airbags.

2011-2014 Jeep Wrangler (two-door)– Also from Jeep, the popular Jeep Wrangler only achieved a “marginal” rating in the tougher small overlap front test and head restraints and seats from the IIHS, but a “poor” rating for side crashworthiness. Jeep said that both the Patriot and Wrangler were designed before the addition of the small overlap test by the IIHS.

2013-2014 Buick Encore – With so much else going for it, the 2013-2014 Buick Encore doesn’t fare so well in the IIHS ratings, earning the bottom rating of “poor” in the tough small overlap test. In all other IIHS categories, however, the Encore scores a “good” rating.

2011-2014 Kia SportageKia’s stylish Sportage also failed to make the grade in the IIHS small overlap front test, earning a dismal “poor” rating. The Sportage earned a “good” rating in all the other IIHS tests.

The 2014 Hyundai Tucson also earned a “poor” rating, while other SUVs earning “marginal” ratings included the BMW X1, Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Tiguan and Mazda CX-5.



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