VIDEO: 2016 Mini Cooper Side Crash Test

The 2016 Mini Cooper has earned the Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Mini Cooper qualified for the honor after drawing “good” crashworthiness ratings across the board and an “advanced” rating for front crash protection. 

The subcompact car’s crash test scores also reflected improvements the automaker made to the side curtain air bags. The changes boosted protection for rear seat occupants, IIHS said.

The Top Safety Pick+ award applies only to two-door “hardtop” Mini Coopers built after November, when the latest changes were made.

The car was redesigned for the 2014 model year. Soon after, it was put through most of the IIHS crashworthiness tests and earned “good” ratings. Before the institute had a chance to test the car for side protection, however, the Mini Cooper failed a government side test, resulting in a recall. IIHS was only recently able to get a compliant vehicle to test, the institute said. The previous generation of Mini Cooper had an “acceptable” IIHS rating for side protection.

To qualify as a Top Safety Pick+ award winner, vehicles must earn “good” ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Additionally, vehicles must have an available front crash prevention system that has earned an “advanced” or “superior” rating. (To view video footage of the side crash test, click on the photo or link below the headline.)

The Mini Cooper’s optional front crash prevention drew an “advanced” rating from IIHS. In track tests, the car avoided a collision in three out of five runs at 12 mph and slowed to 1-3 mph in the others, according to IIHS. At 25 mph, the impact speed was cut by an average of 7 mph. The system also includes a forward collision warning component that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.