There’s a Catch to the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander’s IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award

The IIHS’ car safety awards are out for 2022. Among the winners is the newly redesigned 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander. With a little help from its corporate partner, Nissan, Mitsubishi vastly improved the Outlander for 2022. Though the small crossover SUV still trails key competitors in its class in some areas, it deserves praise for its safety.

Here’s how the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander performed in IIHS testing and the caveat regarding its Top Safety Pick+ award.

The 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety handed out its first Top Safety Pick awards in 2006. For vehicles that go above and beyond in safety, the IIHS added the Top Safety Pick+ awards in 2013.

Recently, the IIHS announced its 2022 award winners. The vehicles that won were top performers in the agency’s thorough crash testing and safety evaluations.

The IIHS devised different tests for various vehicle sizes. Because safety standards for vehicles evolve over time, so do the safety standards the IIHS uses for testing. Such changes make comparing the safety ratings of one model year of a specific vehicle with the ratings of another model year impossible.

The IIHS says its testing will become more rigorous in 2023. All vehicles must earn a good rating in all six crash tests and in the difficult side-impact test in 2023 to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award. The test will be more challenging — a simulation of a high-speed collision with a larger vehicle like a truck or SUV. Next year, the crash sled will be 880 pounds heavier than what’s used now. There will also be an increase in speed in the simulation from 31 to 37 mph. 

To earn a Top Safety Pick award, the vehicle must get a good rating in all the crash tests, including the passenger-side small overlap front test. To win the Top Safety Pick+ award, the vehicle must achieve a good rating on all tests. It must also earn a rating of advanced or superior in front crash prevention tests.

Certain 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander models earned the top IIHS award

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander crossover SUV
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander | Mitsubishi Motors

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander aced all IIHS tests, but there’s a catch. It earned good ratings in all crash tests and superior ratings in both front crash prevention tests. 

However, the IIHS discovered an issue when conducting the headlight tests. Outlander models produced after June 2021 performed well in testing and provided adequate lighting for better visibility. Those models earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

However, Outlander models produced before July 2021 have headlights that received the lowest rating of poor. The low beams offered good light on straightaways and both sides of the road and performed well on curves. But the low beams created excessive glare.

The high-beam assist helped make up the difference for the low beams on sharp right curves, but not enough to correct the problem. That’s why 2022 Outlander models made before July 2021 failed to get the Top Safety Pick+ award.

Overview of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander

The latest Mitsubishi Outlander is a good small SUV that offers the safety features that families value. 

But when it comes to dynamic performance, it could do better. The Outlander’s four-cylinder engine makes only 181 hp, and it takes a full 10 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. But the continuously variable transmission is responsive and does a great impersonation of a traditional automatic transmission.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander handles well. However, the steering is tight with an unnaturally fast turn-in response. CR’s testers say it feels nervous on crowded highways. And models with 20-inch wheels don’t handle blows from the road well. Plus, the large sunroof allows noise into an otherwise quiet and well-appointed cabin.

Inside, there’s plenty of space for passengers to get comfortable in the first two rows. In addition, the Outlander boasts a third row of seats, uncommon among small SUVs, allowing it to seat seven. However, the third row is cramped, and the head restraints hinder the driver’s visibility through the rear window.

As for safety, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander offers an excellent assortment of advanced safety features. It comes equipped with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot alerts, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alerts. For families looking for a safe crossover, the 2022 Outlander is a good choice.

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