Here are four vehicles — traditional and electric, cars and SUVs — that recently earned accolades from IIHS.
Tougher Criteria All Around
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid recently rolled away with a Top Safety Pick award, the second-tier award from IIHS.
The small SUV was put through the paces of three rigorous crashworthiness evaluations, the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, and original moderate overlap front tests, acing each one and earning good scores across the board.
However, the requirements are tougher for both awards in 2023 than they were in the past.
For example, acceptable or good headlights are now required across all trims for either award, rather than only for the higher accolade.
In addition, the updated side test, in which a heavier striking barrier hits the test vehicle at a higher speed, replaces the original side evaluation.
When it comes to vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention tests, a daytime rating of advanced or superior is required for Top Safety Pick recognition, with even more rigorous nighttime standards required to earn the highest recognition.
Outlanders built after May 2023, when Mitsubishi made changes to the front driver-side torso airbag and several other improvements, met all the criteria necessary for Top Safety Pick.
For example, these SUVs come outfitted with a standard front crash prevention system that earns a superior rating in the daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation, and good-rated LED reflector headlights are supplied with all trims.
Three Vehicles Snag Highest Honors
A trio of vehicles managed to earn coveted Top Safety Pick+ status in late April through June. These include the 2023 Rivian R1S, a large electric SUV, along with two midsize cars, the 2023 Honda Accord and the 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
In addition to achieving good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, and original moderate overlap front tests, the trio of vehicles all scored good ratings in the updated side test, a critical requirement for a “plus” award.
Moreover, the Top Safety Pick+ criteria also include a new nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention test.
Advanced or superior performance is required in both the nighttime and daytime pedestrian tests for the higher award.
In the case of both R1S models built after January 2023 and the Honda Accord, the vehicles come equipped with a standard front crash system that earns a superior rating in the daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation and an advanced rating in the nighttime test.
As for the Mercedes C-Class, the Top Safety Pick+ award goes only to the models equipped with the optional front crash prevention that comes with the Driver Assistance package.
With the optional front crash system, the luxury sedan garners superior ratings in both the daytime and nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention tests.
Finally, all three vehicles meet the rigorous criteria for headlights, which means proving acceptable or good headlights across all trims.
On the R1S, good-rated LED projector headlights are supplied with all trims.
In the case of the Accord, all trims now come with good-rated LED reflector headlights. As for the Mercedes C-Class, the standard LED projector headlights earn a good rating and the optional curve-adaptive LED projectors are rated acceptable.
It should also be noted that the Rivian's flagship pickup, the R1T crew cab, captured a 2023 Top Safety Pick+ award in February.