Just weeks after previewing the future of its crossover lineup with a strikingly designed concept vehicle—the XR-PHEV from the L.A. Auto Show—Mitsubishi has gotten some good news about its current roster, anchored by the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander and Outlander Sport: Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the former has secured a Top Safety Pick+ rating for the new model year while the latter, along with the Mitsubishi Lancer, has garnered a "regular" Top Safety Pick prize.
The key difference between the two awards has to do with front crash-prevention technology, which must be rated as either "advanced" or "superior" for a vehicle to earn the much sought-after "+" sign. Getting down to specifics here, the Forward Collision Mitigation system available in the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander did in fact earn an "advanced" grade, but the other two Mitsu vehicles don't offer such a system at this time.
The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander also set the pace when it came to the physical evaluations performed by the IIHS, scoring "good" grades—the highest on the Institute's scale—for both front-overlap impact tests (moderate and small), the side-impact test, an evaluation of roof strength (for rollover scenarios), and an analysis of its head restraints and seating. Of course, beyond what's necessary to pass the IIHS testing procedures, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander also offers "must-have" driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning.
The IIHS rated the Outlander Sport and Lancer as "acceptable" in the small-overlap trial, although both vehicles then earned "good" grades during the rest of the IIHS testing regimen.
Said Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America: "Thanks to our advanced high-tech engineering and safety features, the Mitsubishi Lancer, Outlander and Outlander Sport have consistently achieved high IIHS safety ratings.
"The Mitsubishi RISE safety body construction system is the perfect example of this kind of technology. In the event of an accident, energy is absorbed and deflected away from the occupant cell, which enhances passenger protection."
(Note: The Lancer's Top Safety Pick honor—its seventh straight—does not apply to the more performance-oriented Ralliart and Evolution models.)