Improved head restraints have boosted the 2018 BMW X2’s safety ratings, but only for models built starting in August 2018. Safety-conscious shoppers can typically find the month a vehicle was built by checking the sticker in the driver’s doorjamb.
Related: Battle of the X’s: Is the BMW X2 the Anti-Volvo XC40?
When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety published crash tests of the new X2 in July, the hatchback-esque SUV would have scored well enough to earn a Top Safety Pick — the lesser of two possible IIHS awards — but for head restraints that allowed too much neck force during IIHS’ simulated rear-impact test. That contributed toward an acceptable rating (out of good, acceptable, marginal and poor) in IIHS’ test for head restraints and seats, disqualifying the SUV from Top Safety Pick status.
The X2 earned top scores in most other IIHS tests, including three frontal crash tests, a side impact test and roof-crush evaluation. The performance on head restraints and seats was unusual; of the 187 models for 2018 that IIHS subjected to the longstanding test, just five earned less than a good rating: the X2, BMW i3, Dodge Challenger and two variants of the Nissan Frontier.
New X2s will not suffer that embarrassment. After improvements to the head restraints, the SUV earned a good score in subsequent IIHS tests thanks to lower neck forces and less head acceleration. Asked to clarify what exactly BMW did to improve the head restraint performance, a spokesman didn’t immediately respond to Cars.com.
Less than perfect headlight scores — rated acceptable, not good — prevented the X2 from earning IIHS’ top award, Top Safety Pick Plus. That means the X2 is a Top Safety Pick (sans Plus), but shoppers should note that not every X2 receives such distinction. BMW remains stingy on standard crash-avoidance technology, a factor that also hamstrung the related X3 in a recent Cars.com comparison test. The X2’s forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking has advanced-rated performance according to IIHS measures, but it isn’t standard: You have to pony up for one of two driver assistance packages to get it. That’s increasingly unacceptable, as most compact luxury SUVs — not to mention certain non-luxury cars that cost half this much — include the must-have safety tech as standard equipment. IIHS only requires that it’s available, not standard, to secure its 2018 model-year awards.
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