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New midsize SUVs may not be as popular as previous models that ruled the roads in the 1990s, but they are safer now that automakers are loading them with protective equipment, such as side air bags and electronic stability systems, a top safety organization said Monday.

Chrysler LLC's four-door Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro earned lower scores, as did the Kia Sorento, said the institute, which is funded by the insurance industry.

Chrysler responded that its three SUVs won the institute's highest ratings in front-crash tests and also had earned five stars from the U.S. government for front-crash protection. "No single test can determine a vehicle's overall safety performance," the automaker said. "Our priority continues to be designing vehicles that perform safely for our customers and their families in 'everyday' driving conditions."

LINK:Midsize SUVs safer, tests show
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