By JEREMY W. PETERS
DETROIT, Jan. 8 - New crash test results show that four of every five new sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks do not adequately protect occupants from whiplash in low-speed rear-end collisions.
The study, which examined head restraints in nearly all S.U.V.'s and pickups currently in production in the United States, found that only six S.U.V.'s earned the highest possible safety rating. No pickup trucks received a rating higher than "acceptable" in the study, which was released Sunday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
"People see S.U.V.'s and they think of them as being much safer than cars," said Adrian Lund, president of the institute. "Certainly with regard to head restraints, what our study is showing is many of them don't provide good protection from whiplash, which you might expect."
Some of the nation's top-selling S.U.V.'s and pickups were among those the institute rated the lowest. The Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Explorer, Dodge Ram pickup and Chevrolet Silverado pickup were all given the lowest possible rating. Other models that performed poorly in the study were some of the more expensive S.U.V.'s, including the BMW X Series and both the Lexus RX 330 and GX 470.