The 2020 Legacy has earned a Top Safety Pick+ award. - Photo courtesy of IIHS.

The 2020 Legacy has earned a Top Safety Pick+ award.

Photo courtesy of IIHS.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recognized Subaru's 2020 Outback and Legacy cars as top safety picks, and differentiated the two due to their curve-adaptive headlights, the organization has announced.

The 2020 Legacy has earned a Top Safety Pick+ award, while the 2020 Outback received recognition as a Top Safety Pick. The award applies to Outbacks built after October, as well as earlier models equipped with the base headlights instead of curve-adaptive ones.

Both redesigned vehicles were put through the paces of six painstaking crashworthiness tests, and both garnered good scores across the board. The evaluations included the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, head restraint, and the passenger-side small overlap front tests.

But to earn at least Top Safety Pick status, vehicles must also prove their worth in crash prevention, capturing an advanced or superior rating.

Both the Legacy and the Outback more than measured up. They each come standard with Subaru's EyeSight crash avoidance system. Each model earned a superior rating for vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention, avoiding collisions in 12 and 25 mph track tests.

The 2020 Outback earned a Top Safety Pick and missed the top tier due to its headlights. - Photo courtesy of IIHS.

The 2020 Outback earned a Top Safety Pick and missed the top tier due to its headlights.

Photo courtesy of IIHS.

Headlights are often the determining factor when it comes to earning a second-tier award versus plus status.

Previously, the 2019 Outback earned the higher-tier plus award, but the 2020 model gets just Top Safety Pick status due to an acceptable headlight rating — falling short of the good-rated headlights needed for the higher award. That rating applies to its base headlights as well as its available curve-adaptive LEDs on models built after October.

However, the 2020 Legacy did snag the prestigious Top Safety Pick+ when equipped with good-rated curve-adaptive headlights.

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