Is Mitsubishi’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Ford’s?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is the company that tests small SUVs, and other vehicles, to determine which one is the best in terms of performance. When it comes to determining if Mitsubishi’s small SUVs have better safety ratings than Ford's, the IIHS found that the safety rating for the two models is nearly identical.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 10, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the Ford Escape did not receive any safety awards from the IIHS for their 2017 models
  • One benefit of choosing a car that has a safety award is the insurance discounts buyers can receive
  • Choosing a vehicle with certain safety features can help protect drivers, but it shouldn’t be the only reason they choose one

The IIHS operates as an industry-leading institute for the safety of cars. They work with government bodies as well as car manufactures to not only set standards but also ensure cars are made to these standards. Because the IIHS is a trusted institute within the vehicle industry, buyers can trust the ratings they have given to vehicles.

There are several tests the IIHS uses to ensure they are rating the cars accurately. These tests can help buyers understand what type of car they are getting and what safety features the car has.

The IIHS also gives awards for cars that perform above average on the safety tests and also for cars that go far above average on the same safety tests.

Because the IIHS is the industry standard for vehicle safety, it is important to them to make things as realistic as possible.

They have practiced the crash tests they use for many years, and they regularly take advantage of the new technology they can use to test the cars. Thanks to their commitment to the testing process, buyers can be sure their vehicle was tested accurately. Compare rates with our free quote tool above no matter which vehicle you choose.

What the IIHS Safety Ratings Mean

The IIHS has established safety ratings for each of the vehicles. A vehicle must not have any issues during a test to score a good on the test, but if there are only minor issues, the vehicle will score an acceptable.

A vehicle that does not perform to IIHS standards receives a marginal, and one that does not perform well at all will receive a P for poor.

The IIHS also uses a scoring system for the mitigation and avoidance measures. A vehicle will score a basic if it does not have crash avoidance features. It may score an advanced if it has them and may score a superior if it has them and they work.

How Each Car Ranked for Crashes

When the 2017 Ford Escape and the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport were both tested in crash tests, they received scores that were all acceptable or above.

They both received acceptable on the small overlap front driver side but did not receive a score on the passenger side. For the moderate overlap front, the side, the roof strength and the restraints, each vehicle scored a good score.

Since both the vehicles had the same scores, they had a tie for the crash tests. The vehicles were not eligible for any awards partly due to the missing information for the passenger side small front overlap.


Mitigation and Avoidance Features

The mitigation and avoidance system was not available on the Outlander Sport. The IIHS was not able to test it. They may not have been able to test it because it was not available or they simply did not have the right test course for the type of mitigation system it was.

The Ford Escape received a rating of basic. There was no auto brake available for a high speed or low-speed test.

There was a forward collision warning that worked according to the criteria the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had put into place.

The headlights on the Ford Escape received an acceptable rating because they did not have the reach required for sharp left turns. The headlights on the Outlander Sport received a poor rating. The Outlander Sport’s headlights did not have the reach required on straightaways or turns.

Child Safety in the Vehicle

The LATCH system in the Ford Escape received a marginal score because it was too deep in the seat, had confusing other hardware close by and was difficult to maneuver.

It was not an easy to use system which makes it less likely for drivers to use it the right way. The Outlander Sport’s LATCH system had a score of acceptable because it only had some hardware that could be confused with the LATCH system.

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Safer Cars and Awards

The 2017 Ford Escape was safer than the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Neither one of the vehicles received an award from the IIHS because they did not have data for some tests while they scored poorly on other tests.

Even though the Outlander Sport did not have an award, the closest car to it that did receive an award was the Mitsubishi Outlander that is just slightly larger than the Mitsubishi Sport trim.

Choice of Vehicle

When you are considering buying a small SUV like the Outlander Sport or the Ford Escape, you should consider more than just the safety ratings.

In fact, the vehicles may have safety features that were not able to be tested by the IIHS that makes them just as safe or safer than other vehicles.

You should also consider the cost to insure a vehicle, the cost of the vehicle, how much maintenance will be required on the vehicle, the size and what you need it for when you are shopping around for the perfect small SUV for your own vehicle needs.

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