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Old 07-11-2011, 02:09 PM   #1
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Jeep JK Safety Concerns

As most people know, the Jeep Wranglers has received terrible grades for side-impact crashes. If you have not seen or heard, just check out YouTube or Google.

Here's my question: with so many customers opting for 4-door Unlimited Wranglers and with so many families utilizing their Wranglers for daily driving and off-roading, why doesn't Jeep take more steps to protect the life and limbs of its Wrangler consumers?

Sure, you don't expect a side-impact crash when you are off-road; however, most of us must travel on-road to reach an off-road destination, let alone drop off our kids at school.

I find it difficult to believe that Jeep cannot do better to protect the lives of passengers, especially children in the backseat, both out of a moral concern and a desire to sell more vehicles to more families.

I do not think aftermarket rock rails are a sufficient solution to side-impacts.

Does anyone have any information regarding Jeep addressing this concern with its 2012 Wranglers, or ever?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

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Old 07-11-2011, 02:17 PM   #2
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I sense this thread will get wildly out of control, so I'll chime in now.

I'm all for more airbags. So I'm with you there.

Of course, the side airbags provide little to perhaps no protection when the doors are off. Which brings me to my next point . . .

Wranglers must have removable doors. Have you ever taken one off a modern Wrangler? They're at least 50 pounds and pretty unwieldy. Just the steel in one good rock rail is going to be 35 to 50 pounds. Thus, merely "beefing up" the doors with the amount of steel found in a rock rail would put each door in the neighborhood of 100 pounds.

You going to be able to pull those off your Wrangler? How about your wife? So if that's not an option, what would you have Jeep do?

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Old 07-11-2011, 02:20 PM   #3
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Of course, airbags don't work when the doors are off. Which brings me to my next point . . .
The airbags don't work with the doors off?
Are you talking about the frontal SRS or side airbags?
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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The airbags don't work with the doors off?
Are you talking about the frontal SRS or side airbags?
I'm refering to the side airbags. I've edited my original post for clarity on that point. The front airbags of course work fine without the doors.

My assumption is that removing the doors removes the sensors for the side airbags. I suppose the sensors could be located elsewhere in the vehicle and set to detect rapid lateral movement, but even in that instance my expectation would be that a direct side impact will physically hit YOU personally before the airbags even deploy. After all, a rock rail (or even just a plastic side step) is all that protrudes out from the Jeep--otherwise it's just air all the way until your pelvis.

So where ever the sensors may be, I'd expect the side airbags would be of little to no use in a side impact collision with the doors off.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:29 PM   #5
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IIHS-HLDI: Jeep Wrangler 4-door

The 4 door rated marginal without side airbags, couldn't find any ratings with side airbags but I'd assume it would rate even higher.. The reason it rated poor torso according to them, is because the door opened (not really surprising, considering the doors are optional and have a warning on them that they only protect against the elements.), and the test said the dummy "could" have fallen out (although it did not). Also rear passengers actually rated "G"ood in all tests, indicating people (or children) in the backseats have more protection.

I feel safer in the Jeep than most other vehicles, but I'm also aware of it's weaknesses and drive it accordingly (slow and low, is the tempo).
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:47 PM   #6
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This, by the way, is partly how I'm convincing my wife we "need" more lift.

See, we indeed have non-structural doors and no side airbags, but even a stocker places the center mass of its occupants higher than the front end most other vehicles on the road. I've increased that by adding about 2" of lift. That means that in most side impact scenarios, the other car is actually likely to direct most of its force at our lower legs and ultimately under the core area of our bodies. The more we lift the Jeep, the greater the likelihood of this result.

My pet theory is that for this reason, there are probably certain side impact scenarios where we'd be BETTER off in the Jeep (even without side airbags and with non-structural doors) than in, oh, say, a Honda Accord. The Accord may technically offer better side impact protection, but every sedan on the road will strike the Accord at the height of occupants' biceps and drive force right into the occupants' center mass.

Of course, with a Mack truck or some of those big Dodge or Ford pickups, this isn't true. They're lifted as high as the Jeep and will hit you flush. But the reality is when something that big and heavy hits you--you're in trouble no matter what. And in the Accord in that scenario, you'd be virtually run over.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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This, by the way, is partly how I'm convincing my wife we "need" more lift.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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Crap, is this stuff PUBLIC??
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:14 PM   #9
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It's up to the consumer to make an informed decision about their family and safety concerning their vehicle purchase. If I decide to sacrifice safety in exchange for fun with the Wrangler and end up in an accident then that is my fault. Not Jeep.

Jeep makes no claims that these vehicles are safe for families. They are tailored to the enthusiast. Nothing more.

People must take responsibility for their actions and choices. Not blame them on someone else.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #10
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I'm refering to the side airbags. I've edited my original post for clarity on that point. The front airbags of course work fine without the doors.

My assumption is that removing the doors removes the sensors for the side airbags. I suppose the sensors could be located elsewhere in the vehicle and set to detect rapid lateral movement, but even in that instance my expectation would be that a direct side impact will physically hit YOU personally before the airbags even deploy. After all, a rock rail (or even just a plastic side step) is all that protrudes out from the Jeep--otherwise it's just air all the way until your pelvis.

So where ever the sensors may be, I'd expect the side airbags would be of little to no use in a side impact collision with the doors off.
Bad assumption. The air bag sensors are most certainly not in the doors, just as the front sensors are not in the bumpers. Since the air bags are in the seats they will still work. Rock rails are most certainly an added means of protection. Take a look at the bumper of a car and look at where it would contact your Jeep.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:21 PM   #11
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It's up to the consumer to make an informed decision about their family and safety concerning their vehicle purchase. If I decide to sacrifice safety in exchange for fun with the Wrangler and end up in an accident then that is my fault. Not Jeep.

Jeep makes no claims that these vehicles are safe for families. They are tailored to the enthusiast. Nothing more.

People must take responsibility for their actions and choices. Not blame them on someone else.
If Jeep wants to sell more vehicles to more families and create revenue for the company, they should think about a solution.

Just as a car would sell less units if it lacked seat belts, so will a car sell less units if it has inferior side-impact protection.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:26 PM   #12
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I sense this thread will get wildly out of control, so I'll chime in now.

I'm all for more airbags. So I'm with you there.

Of course, the side airbags provide little to perhaps no protection when the doors are off. Which brings me to my next point . . .

Wranglers must have removable doors. Have you ever taken one off a modern Wrangler? They're at least 50 pounds and pretty unwieldy. Just the steel in one good rock rail is going to be 35 to 50 pounds. Thus, merely "beefing up" the doors with the amount of steel found in a rock rail would put each door in the neighborhood of 100 pounds.

You going to be able to pull those off your Wrangler? How about your wife? So if that's not an option, what would you have Jeep do?

A few options would be:

1) super-solid rock rails that bolt into the frame, and extend outward a bit. A few aftermarket products somewhat address it.

2) an optional cage extension or aftermarket product for the lower quarter of passenger section.

3) rear airbags mounted in seat

4) less whining from Jeep zealots who think 21st century motorists have to accept inferior safety in a vehicle because it can go offroad. "get a volvo" is not the innovative type of American thinking that improves products.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:27 PM   #13
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If I want a Corvette, do I get pissed that it's speed + me driving = trouble? They shouldn't detune it. If I drive a Mack truck should I demand it be a more user friendly automatic instead of a 12 speed you have to double clutch. I know we are talking safety here, and not options, but I hate to see people using something for other than its designed intentions. Then wanting it changed to better suit them.

Sorry, I really want to rant here but don't want it to get too political or stereotypes etc etc
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:29 PM   #14
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When I purchased my Jeep, I never even give the crash test a thought even though I have been in a car that has overturned and barrel rolled into a field.

My view is, when it's your turn to go, there's not a thing you can do about it. Freak accidents will happen and unless you want to drive everywhere on rails and be wrapped up in bubble wrap, I think it's right that manufacturers balance the needs for a safety cell and the functionality of a fun product which is what the Jeep is marketed at, having fun.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:42 PM   #15
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Bad assumption. The air bag sensors are most certainly not in the doors, just as the front sensors are not in the bumpers. Since the air bags are in the seats they will still work. Rock rails are most certainly an added means of protection. Take a look at the bumper of a car and look at where it would contact your Jeep.
Do we actually know if that's true? I have no idea.

I know the front airbag sensors aren't in the bumpers, but that seems different. There is a lot of jeep between the front bumper and me. It makes sense that the front system--in the interest of minimizing unnecessary deployments--could allow for a little crumple and require a pretty severe deacceleration before triggering the front airbags.

By contrast, there's hardly anything between me and a side impact. By the time my door takes enough of a hit to actually move the Jeep sideways and generate a side angle acceleration comparable to the deceleration used to deploy the front airbags, I'd expect the door would already be smashed well into my seat. That seems especially likely to be true if the vehicle hitting me sits very tall, like a lifted SUV.

For this reason, it would make sense to me to actually have the side airbags deploy based on pressure sensors throughout the door and perhaps along the area where side steps would be rather than the movement-type sensor used for the front airbags.

Regardless how the side airbags are triggered though, wouldn't you still expect that if you were doorless, most pickups and SUVs would be physically inside your cabin before the side airbags deployed? Especially if you've just got plastic Sahara side steps or nothing at all?
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:42 PM   #16
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If I want a Corvette, do I get pissed that it's speed + me driving = trouble? They shouldn't detune it. If I drive a Mack truck should I demand it be a more user friendly automatic instead of a 12 speed you have to double clutch. I know we are talking safety here, and not options, but I hate to see people using something for other than its designed intentions. Then wanting it changed to better suit them.

Sorry, I really want to rant here but don't want it to get too political or stereotypes etc etc
Would you prefer a Corvette with or without airbags?

Would you prefer a Corvette with or without shoulder mounted seatbelts?

If you would prefer one with the safety equipment, does that mean you think these new-fangled Corvettes violate the spirit of the 1950s and 1960s Corvettes?

In your terms, maybe you are just some "stereotype" who wants a safe modern Corvette instead of the real Corvettes that had no modern safety equipment because you plan on "using something for other than its designed intentions."

This notion that somebody who wants to improve the safety of a vehicle is somehow violating the spirit of the vehicle is backward and flies in the face of automotive history.

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Old 07-11-2011, 04:44 PM   #17
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If Jeeps were really death traps, then why is my insurance so cheap on my jeep and so expensive on my sports car?
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DTJEEP View Post
If Jeep wants to sell more vehicles to more families and create revenue for the company, they should think about a solution.

Just as a car would sell less units if it lacked seat belts, so will a car sell less units if it has inferior side-impact protection.
Jeep is selling every Jeep it makes.

Jeep expects customers to research crash test ratings and make an informed decision before buying.

Inferior to what? An M1 tank? If you aren't happy with the side impact crash ratings, work with the Chrysler engineers to come up with a solution.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:04 PM   #19
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1) super-solid rock rails that bolt into the frame, and extend outward a bit. A few aftermarket products somewhat address it.
So buy the aftermarket ones and support that business. When it gets popular enough, Jeep will begin to copy it. If not, you just found your business niche.

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2) an optional cage extension or aftermarket product for the lower quarter of passenger section.
Not sure I get this. You're saying a cage should physically extend outward from the Jeep? Like half doors but constructed like the rollcage? Doesn't this functionally run into the "heavy/awkward doors" problem?

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3) rear airbags mounted in seat
Agreed. As I said earlier, I'm with you on this. There may be a way to put curtain airbags along the roll cage as well, both front and rear. To me, this is about the only practical solution available.

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4) less whining from Jeep zealots who think 21st century motorists have to accept inferior safety in a vehicle because it can go offroad. "get a volvo" is not the innovative type of American thinking that improves products.
Wait, who in this thread is whining?

Aside from that, to what are Jeeps inferior? Look at the link above posted by FlyinJeeps. The ratings in fact aren't that bad. Pretty good for having removable doors in my view.

It's true that Jeep could invest big bucks in an effort to design a bleeding edge airbag system from the ground up that would be perfectly adapted to the unique challenges of a Wrangler (removeable doors, soft tops, etc.), but that's expensive, the market hasn't demanded it yet, and Wranglers are already creeping out of the enthusiast's price range they're known for.

Perhaps some day--whether due to natural market forces or government mandates--Jeep will dump in the cash to make a super airbag system. But it hasn't yet.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:04 PM   #20
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Jeep does make side-crash safe Jeeps, they're called Cherokees.
You make certain sacrifices when buying a Wrangler, and a buyer needs to understand this before purchase. Jeep markets the Wrangler to a certain buyer, and they're not overly concerned with suiting everyone. They've sold well for years, and will continue to do so, whether they improve safety or not.
Added safety would be welcome, but if it meant the doors were no longer removable, no thanks. If it meant the Wrangler was no longer the same vehicle in essence as it is now, no thanks. If it meant the Wrangler were no longer as capable, no thanks. The JK already has too much electronic nannying in the name of safety. One could also argue that rollover protection is greatly reduced due to the soft top. Pedestrian safety is bad because of the high bumpers, and so on. I don't need the safety police telling me that everything will kill me. Your life is at risk every day, through one factor or another. I'll drive my Wrangler doors off and not worry about it, there's enough other things to worry about. When your time comes, your time comes. I won't spend my life worrying about the inevitable.

If they can make the Wrangler safer without major changes, I'm all for it.

The Corvette comparison makes me laugh, though. The newer ones have NO spirit compared to the old ones. They're appliances. I drive a 59 (my dad's) on a somewhat regular basis. It's slow (in comparison), manual steering, manual drum brakes, no electronic gadgetry and safe as a box of rusty razor blades, but it's a joy to drive, much more so than any modern Vette I've driven. Granted, I've never driven a C6 Z06 or ZR1, but I can guarantee there is not the same feeling of man and machine in it's purest form. You want a real, honest thrill, take a trip into triple digits with me in my 55 Chevy. You just don't feel the machine and the speed in newer cars.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:09 PM   #21
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Jeep is selling every Jeep it makes.

Jeep expects customers to research crash test ratings and make an informed decision before buying.

Inferior to what? An M1 tank? If you aren't happy with the side impact crash ratings, work with the Chrysler engineers to come up with a solution.
The Wrangler received the IIHS's worst rating possible "Poor" for side-impact.

I do not want a M1 tank. I would like Jeep to bring the safety rating for side-impact to the level of other vehicles.

Thanks.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DTJEEP View Post
The Wrangler received the IIHS's worst rating possible "Poor" for side-impact.

I do not want a M1 tank. I would like Jeep to bring the safety rating for side-impact to the level of other vehicles.

Thanks.
If you want better side impact ratings call Customer Service and make Chrysler aware of your feelings. Offer to help design a solution.
But its not our fault the ratings don't satisfy you.

I understand the limitations and am willing to accept them because I love my Jeep. Makes me wonder if you did your homework before buying?
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:22 PM   #23
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The Wrangler received the IIHS's worst rating possible "Poor" for side-impact.

I do not want a M1 tank. I would like Jeep to bring the safety rating for side-impact to the level of other vehicles.

Thanks.
Sounds like your looking for the wrong vehicle, I think Chrysler makes a minivan. A Town and Country? please correct me if im wrong. But I think I speak for the rest of the wrangler population we didnt buy one for safety we bought it for a heck of a good time!!!
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:23 PM   #24
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The Wrangler received the IIHS's worst rating possible "Poor" for side-impact.

I do not want a M1 tank. I would like Jeep to bring the safety rating for side-impact to the level of other vehicles.

Thanks.

You say the worst possible ratings like it's the bottom of the heap.. But you didn't look at the detailed report which shows the land rover Freelander with full doors is actually worse than the JKU:

IIHS-HLDI: Land Rover Freelander

IIHS-HLDI: Jeep Wrangler 4-door


The wrangler scored better if you include the full report..


Also look at this data:

IIHS crashworthiness details

Jeep Wrangler 4-door model tested: 2008 180 no contact 1.0 17 0.27 40 1.8 0.5 7 0 0.80 0.25 2.4 4.1 132 106
Jeep Wrangler 4-door model tested: 2008 180 no contact 1.0 17 0.27 40 1.8 0.5 7 0 0.80 0.25 2.4 4.1 132 106

Jeep Wrangler 4-door

model tested: 2008
no contact - no head trama
neck extension = 17



Toyota FJ Cruiser

model tested: 2007
48 G`s of force to the head
Neck extension = 47



---------> Looks to me like driver injuries are less in a JKU then a FJ to me.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:25 PM   #25
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You say the worst possible ratings like it's the bottom of the heap.. But you didn't look at the detailed report which shows the land rover Freelander with full doors is actually worse than the JKU:

IIHS-HLDI: Land Rover Freelander

IIHS-HLDI: Jeep Wrangler 4-door


The wrangler scored better if you include the full report..


Also look at this data:

IIHS crashworthiness details

Jeep Wrangler 4-door model tested: 2008 180 no contact 1.0 17 0.27 40 1.8 0.5 7 0 0.80 0.25 2.4 4.1 132 106
Jeep Wrangler 4-door model tested: 2008 180 no contact 1.0 17 0.27 40 1.8 0.5 7 0 0.80 0.25 2.4 4.1 132 106

Jeep Wrangler 4-door

model tested: 2008
no contact - no head trama
neck extension = 17



Toyota FJ Cruiser

model tested: 2007
48 G`s of force to the head
Neck extension = 47



---------> Looks to me like driver injuries are less in a JKU then a FJ to me.
Apples and oranges.

The danger, as cited by IIHS is SIDE-IMPACT.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:27 PM   #26
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Sounds like your looking for the wrong vehicle, I think Chrysler makes a minivan. A Town and Country? please correct me if im wrong. But I think I speak for the rest of the wrangler population we didnt buy one for safety we bought it for a heck of a good time!!!

Do you think people who drive off road but have kids should not buy Wranglers?

Or do you think people with kids should not drive off road?
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:30 PM   #27
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Apples and oranges.

The danger, as cited by IIHS is SIDE-IMPACT.
yea in a world where only side-impact matter as far as safety, and if you look at the post more carefully you'll see the JKU is much better even at side-impacts then many other SUV's on the market. and obviously side airbags are an OPTION if you are that concerned. You're point about kids is irrelevant because it shows the rear seats are safer then driver/passenger (getting the best POSSIBLE rating = Good.)

like someone else said, if you want safety, get a minivan..or better yet, take public transportation, the safest possible mode of transportation
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:33 PM   #28
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Do you think people who drive off road but have kids should not buy Wranglers?

Or do you think people with kids should not drive off road?

I didnt say anything about going offroad. So to answer both of your questions I dont think either one is correct. I think if you enjoy driving a vehicle with no doors and no top then heck im pretty sure your ready for a wrangler. Now if you choose not then thats your choice as well, its a wrangler do what you want with it. It sounds to me that safety is your only concern when buying a vehicle, so my question to you is why are you looking at a wrangler? why sit here and blame Jeep for there lack of safety concerns in a wrangler? The Wrangler is one of many models they sell not to mention there are plenty of other vehicles out there to choose from why pick a wrangler and complain about it when you can pick something else and not complain?
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:33 PM   #29
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To be fair to the OP, his original question wasn't whether and what Jeep should do to improve Wrangler safety.

Rather, the original question was:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DTJEEP View Post
Does anyone have any information regarding Jeep addressing this concern with its 2012 Wranglers, or ever?
As far as I know, the answer is "Not particularly." I'm sure Jeep, like all auto manufacturers, is working on future models and those future models are undoubtedly investigating new safety options. Whether they will bring the Wrangler up to the upper eschelons of the market place for safety, I don't personally know.

If it was a "hot topic" and a major focus (like the P-star engine and the new auto trans), I'd expect we would've seen rumblings about it here.

But perhaps somebody with some inside knowledge or who has been tracking Allpar (for what it's worth) on the issue will chime in.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:52 PM   #30
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To the OP, if you did further research, you'd find that the rear seat passengers scored "G"ood in the side impact crash test--where most children under the age of 12 will be riding, at least in Kansas that is. The driver torso received "P"oor rating. This is for a vehicle NOT equipped with the supplemental restraint system (Side Impact Airbags). This was also a 2008 Wrangler Sahara, one may reasonably assume that the 2012s will not perform any WORSE than the model tested as there are no major changes to the body of the 2012 Wranglers.

IIHS-HLDI: Jeep Wrangler 2-door

One may extrapolate that when equipped with side impact airbags, the driver will fair better than a driver in a vehicle without side impact airbags. I have not seen data confirming this, but as an adult, I am willing to take that risk. If one is not willing to accept the risk, after weighing the pros and cons, involved in a side impact scenario, the simple solution is don't buy a Wrangler without side impact airbags--or don't by a Wrangler at all.

Frankly, I'm less concerned about side impact causing blunt force trauma injury than I am about injuries resulting from the lateral G-forces applied to the body in a side impact accident, i.e., rapid decelaration or acceleration of a body laterally. None of the padding in the world will help you with that sorry to say. Take a look at studies involving survivability of front or rear accident G-forces versus side impact G-forces.

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