Now that the redesigned 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander has become a Top Safety Pick+ of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Mitsu has become the only automaker in the country to have earned that designation for its entire crossover lineup. True, that entire crossover lineup includes just two members, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, but the achievement is still worth noting. Consider: Although the 2014 Subaru Forester also has received a “TPS+” trophy, the Ford Escape hasn’t. Neither has the Honda CR-V. Or the Buick Encore, BMW X1 or VW Tiguan.
And after Toyota specifically requested a delay to the testing of its brand-new Toyota RAV4, so the company could fine-tune it to pass the IIHS’ small front-overlap test, it didn’t.
Now, the RAV4, as well as all those other entries, did receive the traditional Top Safety Pick designation. That means they scored the highest possible grades in testing for occupant protection in moderate front-overlap, side and rear crash scenarios, as well as in a test of roof strength (for rollover incidents). But what they didn’t do was pass the small front-overlap test, which was designed to assess protection when a frontal collision occurs at the corner of a vehicle, outside the main area of the typical vehicle’s “safety cage.”
On the other hand, it’s not just crossovers that are being challenged by the new test procedure. The only compact car in the industry to have earned “Good” grades in the evaluation is the Honda Civic (in both coupe and sedan formats).
Clearly, it’s going to take a while for the industry as a whole to catch up with the new IIHS standards, and until it does, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport will continue to showcase an important advantage in two of the country’s key vehicle segments—and continue to help the brand move up on the monthly sales lists.