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Old 07-16-2019, 05:59 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Eh, stats say I'm on the right track.

Okay, so I went and did a deep dive on the IIHS website.

Statistically speaking, for 2008 and newer model years (and equivalents), midsize SUV's have about half the average deathrates per million registered vehicle miles vs either large or midsize cars, though the 95% confidence intervals do tend to overlap. SUV's also don't have a higher average rollover deathrate than cars. The IIHS noted that there has been a change since about the 2005 model year, cars were generally safer before then. Also, interestingly, except for the "very large" class, in SUV's the 4wd ones on average have a slightly lower overall deathrate and rollover deathrate than the 2wd ones.

Here's some excerpts for a few models I was interested in:
Name, Model Year, Registered Vehicle Years, Driver Deaths per Million Registered Vehicle Years (95% Confidence Interval), Multiple Vehicle Deaths, Single Vehicle Deaths, Rollover Single Vehicle Death Subset
2005-2008 MY
Dodge Charger V6 474,409 51 (44-59) 19 32 7
Dodge Charger V8 230,078 62 (50-74) 20 43 12
Combined 704,487 56.5 (44-74) 19.5 37.5 9.5
Jeep Grand Cherokee WK 2007-2008 220,974 11 (5-16) 0 11 5
Jeep Wrangler 2dr 2007-2008 156,747 20 (12-27) 10 10 5
Jeep Wrangler 4dr 2007-2008 110,521 17 (8-26) 0 17 0
Porsche Cayenne 101,189 28 (13-43) 14 14 0
Honda Odyssey 1,587,331 17 (14-20) 12 5 3
Nissan Xterra 4WD 2006-08 139,394 27 (17-37) 14 14 7
Dodge Charger not listed
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD WK2 2011 108,237 7 (0-21) 7 0 0
Jeep Wrangler 2dr 378,918 34 (15-52) 11 24 12
Jeep Wrangler 4dr 517,661 21 (7-35) 11 10 7
Ford Expedition 153,460 5 (0-15) 5 0 0
Porsche Cayenne not listed
Honda Odyssey 2011 100,518 0 (0-37) 0 0 0
Nissan Xterra not listed
Dodge Charger v6 513,315 40 (20-59) 15 26 4
Dodge Charger V8 130,623 35 (6-63) 12 23 12
Combined 643,938 37.5 (6-63) 13.5 24.5 8
Jeep Grand Cherokee Wk2 1,120,459 16 (7-24) 5 12 8
Jeep Cherokee 2014 101,931 0 (0-36) 0 0 0
Jeep Wrangler 2dr 452,036 35 (18-51) 14 20 13
Jeep Wrangler 4dr 813,929 27 (14-41) 7 22 17
Ford Expedition 132,011 23 (0-46) 12 12 6
Honda Odyssey 1,155,445 8 (1-15) 6 2 2
Porsche Cayenne 115,877 9 (0-48) 0 9 9
Audi Q7 102,362 0 (0-36) 0 0 0
Nissan Xterra 4WD 144,660 14 (2-50) 14 0 0

Picking through these numbers, it looks like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan XTerra show overlapping 95% confidence intervals for overall deathrate per million registered vehicle miles with Dodge Charger V6. Rollover numbers are similar within datasets. Rollovers for Wranglers are, as expected, higher than those of other models, but the overall deathrate again shows overlap for the 95% confidence interval.

So no, a Dodge Charger V6 is not safer than a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD or a Nissan XTerra 4WD when you look at actual deathrates across all drivers. Note that the Grand Cherokee prior to 2011, and all years of the XTerra, have solid rear axles. The XTerra is even leaf-sprung in the rear.

A Honda, Toyota or Kia minivan is safer than a Dodge Charger or an SUV for similar model years. The Chrysler minivans after 2008 or so are also in the same ballpark. Those are the ones we're considering to replace my wife's aging 2007 Mazda 5 as the usual family hauler. If we want to go camping where there's no off-road trails and the access road isn't a mud-pit, this would be the vehicle we'd choose, assuming the dealer's not going to gank us on the warranty for towing with it.

If I use GAWR instead of GVWR, the tow capacity (as determined by the lower of tongue weight at 12% of GTW or hitch rating) is enough to haul a 5000lb trailer, with enough leftover payload to handle some minor upgrades on the vehicle itself. The XTerra has the least "extra" capacity, the Grand Cherokee has the most - it doesn't need to exceed GVWR at all. In all cases the "rated" tow rating can be achieved even with ~12% or so tongue weights if the GAWR is used.

A 2014+ Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is also quite interesting, due to a much better fuel economy rating, and they are starting to become available at the ~$10k-$12k price point, which is in range of what I can "justify" spending on myself. Would take about 8-10 years to pay off the price difference vs. a comparable mileage older Xterra, though, with fuel savings alone.

Anyone see an issue towing a ~4000-5000lb trailer with a 2.4L 4-cylinder, assuming the GAWR, brakes, and hitch are rated to handle it? Gains one or two mpg average for most of my commuting vs. the V6.

Comparing the Cherokee Trailhawk to the Nissan Xterra Off-Road or Pro-4X, they both have rear locking diffs, the Xterra has better ground clearance and probably better "beat-on-ability" due to having a separate frame, the Xterra can fit larger tires without a lift or heavy trimming, the Xterra has far more aftermarket support (so far), the Trailhawk has better traction control, but both have on-road stability control. Neither has automatic trailer sway control, but both have factory wiring for a 7-pin tow connector and brake controller. The Trailhawk is a lot harder to put a winch on - it's difficult to tell whether the factory crash absorption of the front bumper is compromized vs. stock. A come-along or "the other guy's winch" is fine for what I'm likely to want to do, though. The XTerra is probably easier to work on as it isn't quite as squished together - and the TrailHawk has a transverse engine vs. the XTerra's more conventional layout.

Anyways, I doubt this'll be bought this year, unless the White Car dies before I get the Green Truck driving again, or I find a "yeah, I'll buy your project trucks" person. I'm looking at ~$500 in parts and a lot of labor to get Green Truck ready to sell as a reasonable driver.
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