The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced that the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander midsize crossover has earned Top Safety Pick + status. That puts it in a small SUV club, one whose only other members are the Volvo XC60, 2014 Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

What differentiates the Top Safety Pick from those that are Top Safety + Picks? Only a few vehicles have mastered the new small overlap front test. For example, the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 received a rating of Poor in that test; the Kia Sorento and Chevrolet Equinox have not yet been fully tested.

The Outlander's rating improved from Average for the 2007-2013 model, to Good on the roof strength test for the 2014. The crossover's structure was made with Mitsubishi's RISE, which stands for Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution. That means the Outlander has optimized crumple zones, and was designed to better protect passengers in all three rows in the event of a crash. There are other safety features, too: Forward Collision Mitigation and Lane Departure Warning systems are available.

Source: IIHS