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Many national safety groups aim to make new cars, trucks, and SUVs safer than before. Through a battery of crashworthiness tests and assessments, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests how new vehicles perform. For 2023, only one plug-in hybrid SUV from Mitsubishi has earned the Top Safety Pick award.

Which new plug-in hybrid SUV earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick award?

According to the IIHS, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid SUV earned the Top Safety Pick award. Testing is ongoing throughout the year and as new vehicles roll out, but thus far, the Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV is alone. After a recent redesign, this compact SUV is new and improved. Among other things, Mitsubishi modified the driver-side torso airbag to increase passenger safety. This only applies to vehicles built after May 2023, when the modifications were made.

In the four main crashworthiness tests, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid earned the highest score of “good.” That includes the small overlap front driver and passengers, moderate overlap, and the updated side test. It also earned the highest score possible for the LED reflector headlights on all trim levels.

The standard Forward Collision Mitigation System earned the highest superior score in the new vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention tests. The 2023 plug-in hybrid SUV earned the same high vehicle-to-pedestrian test scores.

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV is improved for 2023

The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid SUVs built after May 2023 made some necessary tweaks. As mentioned, Mitsubishi modified the front driver-side torso airbag to better protect the driver in the case of an accident. The automaker also changed the driver and passenger-side interior door trim to offer more protection.

The updated side test is new for 2023 and has caused some cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles to lose out on the TSP award. High scores in all these areas were necessary to qualify for the Top Safety Pick. There were only four Top Safety Pick Plus winners in the small SUV category where this Outlander PHEV sits. Nine vehicles landed in the Top Safety Pick category, which is still worthy of recognition.

Only one other plug-in hybrid SUV is on the winner’s list: the 2023 Lexus NX Plug-in Hybrid. This midsize SUV earned the Top Safety Pick Plus award thanks to high scores on the main crashworthiness and crash avoidance tests.

How did the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV score?

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV did not receive an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety award. It missed out on the Top Safety Pick and TSP+ awards for a few reasons, including low head restraints and headlights scores.

The 2022 Outlander only earned “acceptable” scores for the overall head restraints and seats segment. The LED projector low and LED reflector high beams on the GT trim earned the same acceptable score. The SEL trim used halogen projector low beams and halogen reflector high beams, which resulted in a poor score. This only provided fair visibility on the straights but inadequate visibility on curved roads.

Those looking for a safe plug-in hybrid SUV only have two options at this time, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander and the 2023 Lexus NX. If that powertrain is your desired type, these two SUVs offer the best protection on the road.


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