Which SUVs are the safest in a crash?

Results were released Tuesday for crash tests involving some of the most popular vehicles on the road mid-size SUVs.

Every year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducts 80 different crash tests, meaning it crashes hundreds of cars and SUVs.

In this latest test at the Vehicle Research Center in Virginia, the IIHS crashed some of the biggest sellers on the road.

Nine mid-size SUVs were put to the test. Only three got top scores.

Researchers replicated what happens when 25 percent of a vehicle's front end hits something like a tree or a utility pole at 40 mph.

IIHS Executive Vice President David Zuby says the test looked at which SUVs protected the driver the most.

The Chevrolet Equinox earned top scores.

"You can see there's a lot more space, around where the driver would be sitting, and that indicates that the airbags and the seatbelts have a chance of doing their job to protect the driver from injury," he said.

Along with the Equinox, the GMC Terrain and Toyota Highlander also received top marks.

The poor performers were the Kia Sorrento and Mazda CX-9. But the Honda Pilot scored the lowest of all.

"The main problem with the Honda Pilot is that its structure collapsed," Zuby said.

When that happens, drivers will likely suffer serious injuries.

In a statement, Honda responded: "Every new generation of the Honda Pilot has helped lead the light truck segment with a wide range of standard safety and driver assistive technologies."

Mazda told CBS News that the CX-9 has performed well in other tests. There was no immediate comment from Kia.

This new test is forcing some automakers to go back to the drawing board to alter their designs.