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Old 10-08-2013, 10:38 AM
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IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

A report issued September 27th by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on front crash prevention ratings for 2013-14 mid-size cars and SUVs (link below) seems to have shortchanged the 2014 Durango.

The report gives it the lowest rating available ("Basic") and then mentions in fine print that it didn't test the vehicle's autobrake system. The "Basic" rating, though, means the vehicle has a forward collision system that meets minimum federal criteria but fails to brake the car in either situation. That is clearly not the case with the new Durangos that have the adaptive cruise control with stop feature. With its features mirroring the Jeep Grand Cherokee's, it seems the Durango should've merited at least an "advanced" rating and possibly a "superior" rating.

For its detailed report on its safety ratings for the 2014 Durango, the IIHS also relies on the 2011 model (see second link below).

If the IIHS didn't test the 2014 vehicle's autobrake system, it shouldn't have rated its front crash protection capability or should've waited till the 2014 was available to test. A consumer reading this report could easily be misled.

http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4807.pdf

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/dodge/durango?print-view
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:50 AM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

Not just a problem with consumers being misled, but also insurance companies. I'd be interested to know if anyone with a 2014 noted a sizable difference in insurance rates with the new model.

Honestly though, after reading the report, I don't think it's that bad. The autobrake feature is optional. Therefore, it isn't (and won't be) available on many of the Durangos being purchased by consumers. I'd venture a guess that the majority of Durangos will be sold without that feature as it's only available on a few select models that are at the higher price point. This report tells the consumer what the floor is on safety of the Durango. In other words, if you buy the base model, this is what you get as far as safety.

Obviously, adding more features like the autobrake, adaptive cruise, side blind zone alert, etc. is only going to enhance the safety of the vehicle. But those are all options. It would be unfair to test a vehicle with all of those on there because then the consumer would have no idea what the safety of the base model is, only that it would, presumably, be less safe (the extent to which would be unknown however).

IIHS used the proper methodology in my opinion here. Test the base model to establish the safety floor. As far as testing an older vehicle, to my knowledge, none of the structure was changed in the 2014 model so there would be no reason to test the 2014 vehicle. LED running lamps were added and the report accounts for that. The crash tests, on the other hand, only look for safety regarding the structure of the vehicle (crumple zones, incursion into passenger compartment, etc). If that hasn't changed, then testing a 2011 is acceptable.
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:47 PM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

As a side topic Chrysler calls it FCW with Crash Mitigation. However, no where I can find do they explain what Crash Mitigation is, they only explain the Forward Collision Warning part. I have my own ideas it's limited brake application to lessen the severity of a crash but Chrysler does not mention in any fashion what it is/does. It could very well be no braking at all but rather priming the safety system to react quicker once the driver interacts or a crash happens. I really wish they'd explain this Mitigation feature.

ACC with stop, while using the same systems, is a different feature from the FCW. I find it unsafe actually for city driving. For example when a car in front is turning off the road you typically close the gap if you know they'll continue to make the turn. When ACC is on I've found in this situation it will brake rather heavily perhaps catching the car behind by surprise and then once clear it will accelerate faster than I like for city traffic. It's great for freeway driving and traffic though.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:00 PM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

I too didn't take exception to the IIHS report/result/finding.

I think it accurate given the take rate of ACC with Stop, or the functions the crash mitigation features.

While the ACC features are interesting, given the infancy of the technology I prefer to rely on my eyes and feet to react to on the road situations.

I could see if I had long highway commutes in heavy traffic where it would be useful, but as those don't apply to me I was fine not having the features.

I'm sure my wife who will be the primary driver would agree.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:47 PM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcfarl58 View Post
Not just a problem with consumers being misled, but also insurance companies. I'd be interested to know if anyone with a 2014 noted a sizable difference in insurance rates with the new model.

Honestly though, after reading the report, I don't think it's that bad. The autobrake feature is optional. Therefore, it isn't (and won't be) available on many of the Durangos being purchased by consumers. I'd venture a guess that the majority of Durangos will be sold without that feature as it's only available on a few select models that are at the higher price point. This report tells the consumer what the floor is on safety of the Durango. In other words, if you buy the base model, this is what you get as far as safety.

Obviously, adding more features like the autobrake, adaptive cruise, side blind zone alert, etc. is only going to enhance the safety of the vehicle. But those are all options. It would be unfair to test a vehicle with all of those on there because then the consumer would have no idea what the safety of the base model is, only that it would, presumably, be less safe (the extent to which would be unknown however).

IIHS used the proper methodology in my opinion here. Test the base model to establish the safety floor. As far as testing an older vehicle, to my knowledge, none of the structure was changed in the 2014 model so there would be no reason to test the 2014 vehicle. LED running lamps were added and the report accounts for that. The crash tests, on the other hand, only look for safety regarding the structure of the vehicle (crumple zones, incursion into passenger compartment, etc). If that hasn't changed, then testing a 2011 is acceptable.

I'm sure the IIHS was trying to do the best job possible with the models it had available to test. But the IIHS didn't merely test the base models when it came to other vehicles that got higher ratings, & its ratings don't appear to reflect the floor for safety on base models.

For instance, the collision mitigation brake system on the '14 Acura MDX is an option. It got an "advanced" rating when it also had the forward collision warning feature. The '14 Durango similarly has adaptive cruise control with stop and forward collision warning as an option on certain models. It got a "basic" rating (but wasn't tested).

Also using the 2011 Durango model to pronounce safety ratings on the 2014 model, again, ignores the fact that the 2014 model introduced the adaptive cruise control with stop.

I agree that most likely won't be misled by these results. With a "basic" safety rating, the Durango will probably get a "Top Safety Pick for 2014" when those come out in December. But I still think some consumers reading these safety results might get the impression that the crash prevention technology offered by all Durango models is minimal and not as good as that offered by other SUVs/vehicles (when testing may have proved otherwise). And manufacturers and dealers selling vehicles that got the high ratings gain a competitive advantage by being able to advertise these safety results.
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:29 PM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

Quote:
Originally Posted by vertrkr View Post
As a side topic Chrysler calls it FCW with Crash Mitigation. However, no where I can find do they explain what Crash Mitigation is, they only explain the Forward Collision Warning part. I have my own ideas it's limited brake application to lessen the severity of a crash but Chrysler does not mention in any fashion what it is/does. It could very well be no braking at all but rather priming the safety system to react quicker once the driver interacts or a crash happens. I really wish they'd explain this Mitigation feature.

ACC with stop, while using the same systems, is a different feature from the FCW. I find it unsafe actually for city driving. For example when a car in front is turning off the road you typically close the gap if you know they'll continue to make the turn. When ACC is on I've found in this situation it will brake rather heavily perhaps catching the car behind by surprise and then once clear it will accelerate faster than I like for city traffic. It's great for freeway driving and traffic though.
2014 Dodge Durango - Safety & Security Features

"The available Forward Collision Warning System+ uses radar sensors to detect when your vehicle may be approaching another vehicle too quickly. When the system detects a potentially hazardous situation, it alerts you by sounding a chime and displaying a visual message in the instrument panel and may apply a brake jerk to warn the driver of a potential collision so the driver can respond to the situation."

I think the FCW part is the chiming and display message. The crash mitigation part is the brake jerk.

Additional safety braking features are as follows:

Standard Rain Brake Support removes water from brake pads by applying a small amount of pressure to the caliper. It engages when the windshield wipers are activated and in the LO or HI position.

Standard Brake Assist senses emergency braking by detecting the rate and amount of brake application and boosts the power as needed, helping to keep you safe and secure. (The optional "advanced brake assist" stands for autonomous partial or full braking, in the D's case, probably partial similar to the brake check feature of the crash mitigation. In fact, probably the same thing as the crash mitigation feature.)

Standard Ready-Alert Braking preps the brakes for a panic stop when you suddenly release the accelerator pedal.

Standard Electronic Brake Force Distribution regulates braking pressure front-to-rear to help optimize stopping distances under all vehicle-loading conditions.

As for the ACC feature, the owner's manual notes that it is NOT a safety feature and not designed to prevent collisions.

"It does not react to pedestrians, oncoming vehicles,
and stationary objects (e.g., a stopped vehicle in a
traffic jam or a disabled vehicle)."

"Cannot take street, traffic, and weather conditions
into account, and may be limited upon
adverse sight distance conditions."

"Does not always fully recognize complex driving
conditions, which can result in wrong or missing
distance warnings."
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:22 PM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

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Originally Posted by mcfarl58 View Post
I think the FCW part is the chiming and display message. The crash mitigation part is the brake jerk.
Gotta be more than that but appreciate the post on safety features. I posted the same question awhile back and Willx said it was limited brake support as I guessed but I'd still like details from Chrysler or at least from some testing organization. If I ever get a large piece of foam I'll try it out myself. Mercedes has videos of this, nice selling point. I had a GL on order until I discovered the '14 Durango.

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Old 10-22-2013, 10:45 AM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

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Originally Posted by vertrkr View Post
Gotta be more than that but appreciate the post on safety features. I posted the same question awhile back and Willx said it was limited brake support as I guessed but I'd still like details from Chrysler or at least from some testing organization. If I ever get a large piece of foam I'll try it out myself. Mercedes has videos of this, nice selling point. I had a GL on order until I discovered the '14 Durango.

Vertrkr: I'm just curious, & others may have the answer to this too, but does the FCW with crash mitigation or the ACC with stop actually permit the Durango to come to a full stop if necessary while driving?
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:13 AM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

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Originally Posted by mrmitsou View Post
Vertrkr: I'm just curious, & others may have the answer to this too, but does the FCW with crash mitigation or the ACC with stop actually permit the Durango to come to a full stop if necessary while driving?
Yes and yes.

ACC will bring it to a complete stop and resume again (if stopped for 2 seconds or less) without any driver intervention. I used it in stop and go traffic for many miles and it worked like a champ. If you are fully stopped for more than 2 seconds the evic will chime and display a message to brake as it will disengage shortly.

FCW with mitigation will automatically brake the durango if you don't touch the brakes and it senses a crash is imminent. The first warning will be loud chimes and a brake message in the evic display. It may also apply a quick brake jerk to get your attention. If you do not brake at this point then it will automatically engage the brakes. it will not avoid a crash but it will brake enough to slow down and limit the severity of a crash. I previously gripped I could not find this info, but it is in the owner manual, not sure if I missed it on the first read or it was not in the 1st edition but it's there in the 3rd edition.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vertrkr View Post
Yes and yes. ACC will bring it to a complete stop and resume again (if stopped for 2 seconds or less) without any driver intervention. I used it in stop and go traffic for many miles and it worked like a champ. If you are fully stopped for more than 2 seconds the evic will chime and display a message to brake as it will disengage shortly. FCW with mitigation will automatically brake the durango if you don't touch the brakes and it senses a crash is imminent. it will not avoid a crash but it will brake enough to slow down and limit the severity of a crash. I previously gripped I could not find this info, but it is in the owner manual, not sure if I missed it on the first read or it was not in the 1st edition but it's there in the 3rd edition.
I have had my Durango brake very severely on the highway while driving w/o the ACC. It almost brought me to a full stop. Scared the $h!t out of me. Now I have become more used to it and it is usually not as bad with a minor jerk. Often for no reason though, just a car slowing quickly that was not an issue as far as I'm concerned.

The ACC does come to full stops. If the person is stopped for more than 3 seconds it warns you with beeps to put your foot on the brake as it is about to release.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:34 AM
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Re: IIHS Crash Protection Report on 2014 Durango Unhelpful to Consumers

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I have had my Durango brake very severely on the highway while driving w/o the ACC. It almost brought me to a full stop. Scared the $h!t out of me. Now I have become more used to it and it is usually not as bad with a minor jerk. Often for no reason though, just a car slowing quickly that was not an issue as far as I'm concerned.
Do you have the FCW set to Far or Near? I have mine on Far and have not had it engage yet but I'm still driving cautiously with only 700 miles on the clock. I figured I'd give it 1000 miles before I start to push it.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vertrkr View Post
Do you have the FCW set to Far or Near? I have mine on Far and have not had it engage yet but I'm still driving cautiously with only 700 miles on the clock. I figured I'd give it 1000 miles before I start to push it.
ACC I have near, maybe 1-2 bars normally 1 or people cut in too often. As for FCW, I played with it abut and if I recall, I think I left it on near. It's not a burden now on whatever it's on and I figure, better safe than sorry. I wish this thing had lane departure too. It's kind of a miss considering the cars that do have the option and for the 50k it would of been nice. I'd have paid a little note for the package.
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