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3 SUVs at Bottom of Rollover Ratings

Autos: In the crash tests by NHTSA, four vehicles received the highest score with five stars.

June 25, 2002|From Associated Press

The 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, two-door Ford Explorer and Land Rover Discovery Series II 4x4 received the lowest rollover ratings among the latest group of sport utility vehicles to be rated by the federal government.

Each of the vehicles received two out of a possible five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Explorer did well, however, in side-impact crash tests, earning five stars for protection to the driver and passenger.

The Toyota Sequoia and Saturn VUE each received three-star rollover ratings.

"It is a mathematical calculation," General Motors Corp. spokesman Jay Cooney said in response to the ratings. "The Avalanche is a very good vehicle with an excellent real-world safety record."

Messages left at Ford Motor Co. were not immediately returned.

Rollover ratings are based on a vehicle's width and center of gravity.

The more top-heavy a vehicle is, the more likely it is to roll over in a single-vehicle crash, according to NHTSA.

Vehicles with five-star ratings are said to have a less than 10% chance of rolling over, while those with one star have a rollover risk of greater than 40% in a single-vehicle crash.

Because sport utility vehicles tend to be top heavy, they generally receive lower ratings than passenger cars, which have lower centers of gravity, NHTSA said.

The 2002 Cadillac DeVille four-door, Ford Thunderbird convertible, Hyundai Sonata four-door and Mitsubishi Eclipse two-door all received five-star rollover ratings.

Among 2003 models rated for rollover resistance, the Pontiac Vibe four-door 4x4 and 4x2 and the Toyota Matrix four-door 4x4 and 4x2 received four stars.

The 2003 Toyota Corolla and Camry also received four stars.

The 2002 Mazda MPV van earned five-star ratings in front- and side-impact crash tests and a three-star rollover rating.

In frontal-impact crash tests, the 2002 Ford Thunderbird convertible earned four stars for protection to the driver and five stars for the passenger.

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