ARLINGTON, VA - The redesigned Dodge Charger and twin Chrysler 300 have drawn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's coveted Top Safety Pick award for the first time after scoring "good" ratings for front, side, rollover and rear-impact protection. A score of "good" is the highest given by IIHS.
The Top Safety Pick designation "recognizes the vehicles that afford the best overall crash protection," IIHS said. In addition to "good" crash test ratings, winners must have electronic stability control (ESC), which is standard on the Charger and 300.
"Chrysler significantly improved the safety performance of these vehicles for 2011," IIHS said. The previous-generation Charger and 300 drew the second lowest rating of "marginal" for side-impact protection, even when equipped with head-protecting side curtain airbags. The previous cars were also rated "marginal" for rear-impact protection.
This is the first time that these cars have been rated in IIHS' roof-strength test for rollover protection. The roof of the Charger withstood a force equal to 5.37 times the car's weight. By comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight. ESC, which was optional on the previous-generation models, is now standard.
The new ratings bring to seven the number of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models drawing IIHS' highest safety designation.