ARLINGTON, Va. — After earning a good rating for rollover protection, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer earns the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick award. The Lancer, a small car, is the first Mitsubishi to qualify for the top safety designation since the Institute implemented the new rollover test.
Top Safety Pick recognizes the vehicles that earn the highest rating for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and that have electronic stability control, which is standard on the Lancer.
Based on research of real-world crashes, the Institute evaluates rollover protection using a roof strength test. In this test a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes. Good rated vehicles have roofs that can withstand a force equal to at least 4 times the vehicle's weight. For comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight.