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Is Toyota’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Mitsubishi’s?

Things to remember...

  • Cars that win an IIHS safety award can make it more affordable to get an insurance policy
  • A Top Safety Pick+ car is one of the safest options available to people who want a small SUV
  • A Toyota RAV4 and a Mitsubishi Outlander have similar ratings for different safety features

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is one of the most respected organizations that rate the safety of vehicles.

Their safety standards are used to help people determine which vehicles are the safest, and they can help rank vehicles based on the different safety features they have available.

Since the IIHS has done what they can to make sure they are providing the best safety features possible, people who purchase a Top Safety Pick or a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle are able to rest assured their vehicle has been tested for every component of safety.

While the IIHS performs tests and gives awards, they try to make sure everything they are doing is realistic. There is no point in doing tests unless the tests mimic something that could happen in real life.

For the IIHS to do this, they have to be sure they are offering all the opportunities people need for a safe vehicle. They also have to keep the safety of drivers and passengers in mind while they are doing these tests and judging the vehicles based on the different criteria they use.

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Table of Contents

What the Ratings Mean

Some people may be confused when they see that a vehicle “only” received an A on the test the IIHS did on it. The A rating is actually the second best that a vehicle can receive and a G is the best it can receive.

An M rating is slightly worse than an A and a P is the worst a vehicle can receive. The ratings stand for the following:

  • good (G)
  • acceptable (A)
  • marginal (M)
  • poor (P)

Vehicles that score an M or P on one or more of any of the major parts of the test will not be eligible to receive a Top Safety Pick or + award because they are not the safest vehicles available to people who are looking for a small size SUV.

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Child Safety Tests

To determine whether the LATCH system will be used in the way it should, the IIHS does a test to figure out how easy it is for people to use the LATCH system.

The subjects who are determining this will test to see if it is close to other hardware, if it is too deep in the seat, or it is too hard to maneuver the seats to get them in the right position.

The Outlander and the Toyota RAV4 both received an A rating on the tests because the LATCH anchors were too deep into the seats.

Crash Avoidance Tests

In the past, there was not much to crash avoidance. With the technology of auto brakes and warning systems, the IIHS always tests how well a vehicle can assist a driver in avoiding a crash.

The headlights are also tested at this time. If a vehicle can reduce the speed by 90 percent or more, it will receive an advanced rating.

If a vehicle can completely avoid a crash, it will receive a superior rating.

The Outlander and the RAV4 received superior ratings because the collision was avoided in both the 25 miles per hour test and the 12 miles per hour test. The vehicles had warning systems that were loud and worked properly.

Their headlights only received As. The RAV4 had headlights that did not work sufficiently around sharp turns while the Outlander headlights did not work sufficiently while going around left gradual turns.

Collision Tests

The collision tests are used to determine what would actually happen to a vehicle if it were to get in an accident. The vehicles must be able to pass with a good or an acceptable score if they are going to get a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award.

The RAV4 received a G for every area of the test except for the passenger side small overlap front. 

It received a P on that test but still managed to rank higher in collision tests because the Outlander did not even score because there was no data collected for the passenger side small overlap front test.

Awards and Winners

Even though the RAV4 had an overall higher score, both the vehicles were Top Safety Pick+ vehicles. Since there are only 38 total vehicles the IIHS chooses for the Top Safety Pick+, this is a distinguished honor that most other vehicles were not able to achieve.

The RAV4 and the Outlander are both among the safest options in the small size SUV class.

Even though having a safer vehicle can help you save money on insurance costs, that’s not the only reason you should choose a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle.

Top Safety Pick+ vehicles are often among the most popular vehicles in their class. They can help you stay safe in an accident, can protect the investment you have made into your car and can give you peace of mind on a daily basis while you are driving it.

The optional features that come with most Top Safety Pick+ vehicles can also make driving a more enjoyable experience.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the best rate for the coverage you need!


  1. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/technical-information/technical-protocols
  2. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/technical-information/side-test-rating-calculator
  3. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/toyota/rav4-4-door-suv/2017
  4. https://www.mitsubishicars.com/outlander/2018
  5. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/mitsubishi/outlander-4-door-suv/2017
  6. https://www.toyota.com/rav4/

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