According to the IIHS, to earn the Top Safety Pick+ rating vehicles must be rated good in at least four out of the five crash tests (including the difficult small overlap front test) and earn no less than acceptable in the rear crash test. The Top Safety Pick rating requires that vehicles be rated good in the moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear tests, but there's no minimum rating on the small overlap front crash test.
Mitsubishi designed the Outlander to have greater roof strength (the roof now can support up to five times the SUV's weight) and to withstand the moderate overlap front crash test and the recently introduced small overlap front crash test, both of which evaluate the ability of vehicles to protect their occupants in crashes that bypass the traditional front crumple zone. Crumple zones are designed into vehicles to allow them to deform in a way that protects passengers in the event of a crash. The Outlander was one of two small SUVs to earn a good rating in the small overlap test, the other being the 2014 Subaru Forester. The Subaru earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Despite earning a good rating in the small overlap front crash test, the damage it does to the Outlander still sends chills down our spines. Watch the video below to see the Mitsubishi endure the newest IIHS crash test.
UPDATE: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the 2014 Subaru Forester received a Top Safety Pick rating. It actually earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating. The text has since been corrected.