New headrest design bumps 2018 BMW X2 to Top Safety Pick

September 12, 2018

The IIHS said Tuesday that BMW's effort to redesign the headrests for its smallest crossover SUV paid off. The insurance industry-funded crash testers awarded the 2018 BMW X2 with the Top Safety Pick award.

However, 2018 X2 shoppers will want to look closely to find the safest version of the pint-size crossover SUV based on the BMW X1. Only models built after June of 2018 fitted with optional automatic emergency braking qualify for the award. Earlier versions had headrests that the IIHS said rated "Acceptable." The later production X2s feature a revised design that the IIHS said scored "Good" for their ability to reduce the risk of whiplash in a rear-impact collision.

MORE: Read our 2018 BMW X2 review

Headrests aren't for comfort. They're designed to keep the seat occupant's head and neck upright to provide adequate support in the event of an impact. Good designs are especially helpful in rear crashes when heads bounce forward and then hit the headrests hard. The X2's "Acceptable" rating was surprising since most new cars score "Good" on the head restraint tests.

Otherwise, the IIHS had good things to say about the X2's crashworthiness. It earned "Good" in every instrumented crash test and its optional automatic emergency braking system was rated "Advanced." Only "Acceptable" headlights prevented the X2 from the Top Safety Pick+ award.

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