2010 Mitsubishi Lancer ES – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named the Mitsubishi Lancer one of its top safety picks. The four-door sedan managed to be the first Mitsubishi that the Institute has tested to pass the new roll-over test with a "good" rating. As much as we like entertaining ourselves by thinking about the researchers flipping a bevy of cars and SUVs from 9-to-5, that isn't quite how the institute tests for rollover strength.

Instead, a large metal plate exerts a steady force on the roof of a vehicle until the crash structure deflects by five inches. At that point, the boffins measure the amount of force it took to bend the roof and compare it to the overall weight of the vehicle. From there, a strength-to-weight ratio can be established. Currently, the federal government requires a vehicle's roof to be able to withstand 1.5 times the weight of the car, and in order for a vehicle to earn a "good" rollover rating from the IIHS, the roof needs to be able to stand up to four times the weight of the vehicle.

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[Source: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]