This is pretty cool. The IIHS has awarded the 2014 Toyota Highlander their highest rating of Top Safety Pick+. Amongst mid-size/crossover SUVs, the Highlander was joined by the Acura MDX, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and the Volvo XC60 in earning this rating for the 2014 model year.
To get the “plus” rating, a vehicle has to be rated as “Good” in the moderate overlap front, roof strength, side, and head restraint crash tests. It also needs a “Good” or “Acceptable” rating in the small overlap front crash test, and a basic, advanced, or superior rating for front crash prevention.
In addition to being rated as “Good” across the board in the first four tests, the Highlander got an “Acceptable” rating for small overlap, and it was rated as “Advanced” for front crash prevention because there’s an optional “pre-collision system” at higher trim levels (Limited/Platinum).
If you’re curious what is considered acceptable in the small overlap test, take a look at the video below.
This test, which was introduced in 2012, is designed to mimic the front driver’s side corner hitting a tree, telephone pole, or another car at 40 mph. And, as scary as it looks, the IIHS concluded that:
“Measures taken from the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.”
That’s a pretty impressive result, though there’s certainly room for improvement as the Highlander only got the second highest rating on this test. If you’re curious, you can see the full test results here.