2011 Dodge Charger crash test
2011 Dodge Charger – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's no secret that the 2011 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 are more attractive and are substantially more refined than the models they replace. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the new LX-platform twins are also incredibly safe, too – earning the company's prestigious Top Safety Pick designation for the first time ever.

To note, the last-generation Charger and 300 earned the second-lowest rating available in side impact protection, even when equipped with side-curtain airbags. Yikes. On the other hand, the 2011 Charger withstood a force equal to 5.37 times the car's weight during the roof strength test (for rollover protection). The current federal standard for this test is 1.5 times the car's weight.

Chrysler has now earned seven Top Safety Pick ratings for its latest crop of 2011 vehicles. To read the press release about the Charger and 300's earnings, follow the jump.


Related Gallery2011 Dodge Charger: First Drive
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Gallery photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]
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2011 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 earn TOP SAFETY PICK award

The redesigned Dodge Charger and twin Chrysler 300 earn the Institute's top safety accolade for the first time after achieving good ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection. The TOP SAFETY PICK designation recognizes the vehicles that afford the best overall crash protection. In addition to good crash test ratings, winners must have electronic stability control (ESC), an important crash-avoidance feature, which is standard on the Charger and 300.

Chrysler significantly improved the safety performance of these vehicles for 2011. The previous generation Charger and 300 earned 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 the Institute's 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 7 the number of Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models earning the Institute's highest safety designation.