After already achieving a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score in the government’s safety testing, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class now has been recognized as a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As a quick review, receiving that “+” mark requires vehicles to earn top grades in four of the five IIHS evaluations and no lower than an “acceptable” mark in the fifth; those tests analyze vehicles for occupant protection in small front-overlap, moderate front-overlap, side-impact, and rear-impact collision scenarios, as well as for roof strength in rollover situations.
And as plenty of automakers have found out, passing that new small front-overlap test is no easy feat. In fact, engineers had to reinforce the doorsills in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class to make the leap to the higher recognition level, but as a result, the Institute noted that: “In the small overlap front test, the driver's space was maintained reasonably well. Injury measures recorded on the dummy indicated that injuries to the left lower leg would be possible in a crash of this severity, but the risk of significant injuries to other body regions would be low. The dummy's head made good contact with the front airbag, which stayed in position during the crash. The side curtain airbag deployed and had sufficient forward coverage to protect the head from contact with side structures and outside objects.”
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class remains one of just two entries in the IIHS’ “Midsize Luxury SUV” category—along with the Volvo XC60—to earn Top Safety Pick+ status. Even looking at all crossovers and SUVs, but acknowledging that not all industry entries have been tested yet, the complete list of non-car TSP+ winners is just six members long: