Mitsubishi’s flagship vehicle is now a beacon for safety. On Thursday, the IIHS bestowed a Top Safety Pick designation on the redesigned 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid.

To qualify for either the Top Safety Pick or the Top Safety Pick+ designation, 2023 model year vehicles such as the Outlander PHEV had to meet tougher IIHS criteria, including a new side impact test that T-bones the test car with heavier weight and at higher speeds than the test that had been in place for nearly two decades. Less than half of the vehicles that qualified for a TSP last year have qualified so far this year due to the tougher criteria.

That tougher criteria includes headlights that rate at least as “Acceptable” and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection rated at least as “Advanced” in daytime testing, both of which were accomplished by the Outlander PHEV. The three-row crossover also earned top “Good” ratings in the three other front crash tests.

The award applies to vehicles built after May 2023, when Mitsubishi updated the front-driver torso airbag and improved other elements to qualify for the award, which is far more robust than the NCAP five-star rating assessed by the NHTSA.

The world’s bestselling plug-in hybrid, according to Mitsubishi, also represents the best the brand has to offer in the U.S., based on our testing. The new hybrid powertrain enables an all-electric range of 38 miles, and the small third-row seat only has two current competitors in the Kia Sorento PHEV and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. It leans into the premium segment yet costs between $40,000-$50,000.

The safety rating from the IIHS bolsters its overall value.

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