Parking crashes usually don’t result in serious injuries, but repair costs can quickly mount, along with the hassle of going without the family vehicle while waiting for the body shop to finish work. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has launched a rear crash prevention ratings program to help consumers identify models with the technology that can prevent or mitigate low-speed backing crashes. Two systems earn the highest rating of superior, and four earn the second-highest rating of advanced.
Rear crash prevention encompasses several technologies. Parking sensors issue warning beeps and/or seat vibrations when the equipped vehicle gets too close to another vehicle or object directly behind it, or, in some cases, in front of it. Rear cross-traffic alert warns drivers of approaching vehicles that might cross their path as they back up. Rear automatic emergency braking systems detect objects behind a reversing vehicle and may automatically brake if the driver doesn’t heed alerts to stop.
IIHS engineers evaluated rear autobrake systems on six popular 2017 model vehicles — the BMW 5 series sedan, Cadillac XT5 SUV, Infiniti QX60 SUV, Jeep Cherokee SUV, Subaru Outback wagon and Toyota Prius hatchback.
Under the three-tier rating scheme, models with optional or standard rear crash prevention systems are rated superior, advanced or basic. Ratings are determined by whether the vehicles have available rear autobrake and, if so, how it performs in a series of car-to-car and car-to-pole tests with different approach angles. The availability of parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert also is factored in.
The Outback and XT5 earn a superior rating when equipped with optional rear autobrake, parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert. The Cherokee, 5 series, QX60 and Prius earn an advanced rating with this optional gear.