One of the more demanding tests the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducts is the Small Overlap Front test, which involves a vehicle hitting a 5-foot tall rigid barrier at a speed of 40 mph.
The Small Overlap Front test is designed “to replicate what happens when the front left corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole,” the IIHS says. In order to perform well in this test, a vehicle must have a strong safety cage, as the outer edges of the vehicle are not as well protected by crush zones. The majority of the impact is also absorbed by the vehicle’s suspension/wheel, which can cause the wheel or other components to protrude into the driver’s side footwell and cause serious injuries to the driver.
Furthermore, the Small Overlap Front test is a major challenge for safety belts and airbags, as the occupants are launched forward and to the side of the vehicle due to the offset frontal impact.
The 2020 Chevrolet Traverse recently aced the IIHS’ Small Overlap Front test, receiving a best-possible rating of ‘Good.’ The Traverse’s safety cage appears to be well-designed, with the three-row crossover receiving a ‘Good’ rating in every single one of the IIHS’ crashworthiness evaluations. The crossover misses out on the Top Safety Pick award, though, due to its headlight rating. The IIHS says the Traverse’s standard HID projector-beam lights have inadequate power/range and gave them the worst-possible rating of ‘Poor’. The available LED projector lights were slightly better, but still only received a rating of ‘Average’.
You can see how the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse performed in the Small Overlap Front test in the video embedded below.