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

Both the Outlander and the Forester both had superior scores for their crash avoidance tests, but the Forester was rated the safer of the two vehicles.

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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: Oct 28, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Even though Mitsubishi and Subaru both had small size SUVs that won Top Safety Pick+ awards, their safety ratings were different
  • Both SUVs relied on optional equipment to get the safety ratings they did
  • Choosing a Top Safety Pick+ can help drivers save money when they are purchasing the insurance required for their vehicles

By looking at the efficacy of different parts of the vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety can determine which ones are the safest.

They base the safety of the vehicles on things like how they perform in a crash, what the crash test subjects look like after the tests and how much damage was done to the vehicle as a result of the tests.

The Institute also likes to determine whether the equipment is up to par with safety standards by testing it for different things. Since IIHS is the leader in these tests, they know they are able to provide accurate information for consumers who are hoping to find a safe vehicle.

Each of the tests is scored using a system that ranges from good to poor in the following order:

  • Good (G)
  • Acceptable (A)
  • Marginal (M)
  • Poor (P)

Compare car insurance quotes to see the difference in premium price between these vehicles. Enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool above to get started,

Scores for Mitsubishi and Subaru

The Mitsubishi Outlander and the Subaru Forester were both tested by the IIHS. The Institute used the tests to determine which one is the safest.

They also tested them and used the scores to determine whether one, both or neither of them should receive a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award.

They received their scores based on the car’s ease of use with the LATCH system, the avoidance of crashes and the crashworthiness of the vehicles.

Child Safety in Each Small SUV

The ease of use of the child safety systems is a necessary test the IIHS does. They do it to determine whether the system is easy enough to use so that drivers will use it correctly each time they put a child safety seat in the vehicle.

The LATCH system in the car needs to be easy to use for the car to receive a high score on this test.

The Subaru Forester’s LATCH system only received an A on the test. It received this score because both of the full LATCH systems in the vehicle were too deep to reach. The vehicle made it difficult for the user to put the seat in without having to reach too far into the seat.

The Mitsubishi Outlander also received an A on the test. It could have received a G, but the LATCH system was too close to a different piece in the seat.

If a user were to put a seat in the vehicle and use the other equipment instead of the LATCH system, the car seat could come loose during a collision causing death or serious injury to the child in the seat.


How Each Vehicle Avoided Collisions

The IIHS uses tests to determine what equipment is the most effective in each vehicle for avoiding a collision. During these tests, the IIHS looks at the warning system in the vehicles, the auto brake features and the ability of the headlights to perform in various conditions.

Vehicles receive two separate scores for crash avoidance and headlights.

The Outlander and the Forester both had superior scores for their crash avoidance. They both had warning systems that worked well. Their auto brakes worked at 25 miles per hour as well as they worked at 12 miles per hour.

The headlights for each vehicle only scored an A because they had low beam issues. Both vehicles had intuitive high beams that would counteract these vehicles if the optional equipment was included with the car.

How the Outlander and Forester Handled Collisions

In the front and side collisions, the Forester and the Outlander both had similar scores. In fact, they both scored a G in every area except one. The small overlap front passenger side test is where both of the vehicles suffered.

The Forester only received an M for this category while there was no data for the Outlander. These scores combined with the moderate overlap front, the sides, the roof, and the restraints to determine the entire score for the crashworthiness of the vehicles.

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Which vehicle won?

Since the Subaru Forester had an overall higher score thanks to the data that was put in for the small overlap front on the passenger side, it was the winner.

In fact, it was the overall winner as the safest small size SUV, according to the IIHS.

The Mitsubishi Outlander had nearly identical scores, but the overall score was lower due to the lack of data for the one test. As a result, it came in as only the fifth safest small size SUV.

The IIHS determined that both vehicles were suitable for a Top Safety Pick+ award based on all of the G and A ratings they received.

The most obvious reason to choose a safe vehicle is to protect yourself in the event of an accident. A safe vehicle will also be a better investment for people who want to protect their vehicle if there is an accident.

On top of actually protecting yourself and your property while you are in an accident, a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle is often much less expensive to insure than one that has no awards.

See how much a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle could save you in insurance by using our comparison tool below.

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