DETROIT -- Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s CR-V and Ford Motor Co.'s Land Rover Freelander sustained the most damage in low-speed crash tests on four small sport utility vehicles in a study released on Tuesday by an insurance industry research group.
The Honda CR-V sustained damage totaling $6,607 in four crash tests, while the Land Rover Freelander faced a repair bill of $6,470 for the tests, both earning a "poor" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
General Motors' Saturn VUE had damage totaling $3,389 in the five-mile per hour crash tests into the front and rear bumpers.
The Subaru Forester was the only one of the four SUVs to earn a "good" rating, with total damage of $1,421.
The Forester's bumpers include energy-absorbing foam, and the front bumper has two aluminum bars to absorb energy, rather than one as found in most vehicles. Subaru has also begun selling some bumper parts separately, rather than as a package only, after consulting the Insurance Institute, the group said.
"This is what all manufacturers should do -- work to both reduce the damage that occurs in low-speed impacts by improving the bumper designs and lessen the cost of fixing the damage that does occur," said Insurance Institute Chief Operating Officer Adrian Lund.
The CR-V and the Freelander sustained four times as much damage as the Forester, in part due to the rear-mounted spare tire.
"The spare essentially serves as the bumper, and it doesn't bump very well," Lund said. "This is an unacceptable way to design any vehicle because it all but assures that expensive damage will occur in minor bumps."
The institute conducts the tests and publicizes the results to pressure automakers into making stronger bumpers.