VIDEO: 2015 Subaru Legacy's IIHS Small Overlap Crash Test

The redesigned Subaru Legacy has earned the highest rating of “good” in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's challenging small overlap front crash test, with top marks in every measurement category.

With the optional front crash prevention system, the midsize car is a 2014 Top Safety Pick+ winner. The award also applies to the Outback, the station wagon version of the Legacy, IIHS said.

The previous-generation Legacy also was a Top Safety Pick+ winner, drawing an “acceptable” rating overall in the small overlap front test. The car’s structural performance improved to “good” for the 2015 Legacy, compared with a “marginal” score for the outgoing model.

The driver’s space was maintained well during the crash test, with the safety cage preventing excessive intrusion into the occupant compartment, IIHS said. The dummy's movement was well controlled, and the frontal and side curtain airbags worked together to protect the head from contact with interior structures. Ratings for restraints, dummy kinematics, and injury measures for the head and neck, chest, pelvis, and legs and feet were all “good.”

To watch video footage of the small overlap front crash test, click on the photo or link above.

IIHS added the small overlap evaluation to its testing lineup in 2012. In the crash, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph. This replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object such as a tree or a utility pole.

The Legacy and Outback draw “superior” ratings for front crash prevention when equipped with EyeSight, their optional forward collision warning system with autobrake. In track evaluations, the system completely stopped the vehicle in the institute's 12- and 25-mph front crash avoidance tests.

Subaru has more 2014 Top Safety Pick awards than any other brand. The automaker’s other winners include the BRZ, Impreza, Forester, WRX and XV Crosstrek.

To qualify for the Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must draw a “good” or “acceptable” rating for small overlap protection, as well as “good” ratings in the institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Top Safety Pick+ winners must meet those same criteria and also earn a “basic,” “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention.