2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Rated IIHS Top Safety Pick+

It's unlikely that the first word that pops into your head when you hear "Mitsubishi" is "safety." Today's announcement from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety might just change that. The agency gave the redesigned 2014 Outlander its top award — the Top Safety Pick+ designation.

The crossover scored Good in small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear crash tests. It earns the + designation for acing the IIHS's newest and toughest test, the small front overlap; it simulates a crash of a vehicle's front corner into another vehicle, and few vehicles have passed. The only other compact crossover to take home a Good rating in the test is the 2014 Subaru Forester.

According to the IIHS, the Outlander also improved its roof strength for 2014. "The 2014 model's roof withstood a force equal to nearly five times the SUV's weight. The previous generation Outlander earned an Acceptable rating for roof strength," it said in a statement.

Mitsubishi's smaller crossover, the 2013 Outlander Sport, is also a Top Safety Pick+ award winner after earning an Acceptable score in the small front overlap test. The Top Safety Pick+ requires a vehicle to score a Good rating in at least four of the five tests and no less than an Acceptable in the small front overlap test.

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Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan.  Email Jennifer