Mitsubishi’s Safer Through Design and Steel

Gary S. Vasilash

While it seems as though Mitsubishi Motors is a car company that many observers in the industry are often puzzled by—after all, according to Autodata, through July its share of the U.S. market is just 0.4%, and it seems as though it would be fairly difficult to make a business case with numbers like that—some excellent news for Mitsubishi has come out of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

IIHS, which runs crash tests, has named the new seven-passenger 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander a “Top Safety Pick+” vehicle, which means that it meets the organization’s metrics regarding moderate overlap frontal crash, small overlap frontal crash, side impact, rollover, and seat/head restraints.


2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE

The + is a new designation. Apparently, there are 15 vehicles in the Small SUV segment, of which three are Top Safety Pick+ rates. Of the three, two are Outlanders, the five-passenger model, as well.

The Outlander uses Mitsubishi’s RISE architecture, which stands for “Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution.”

A couple points about that. The fundamental design of the architecture helps manage crash energy through the structure. And the structure makes extensive use of high-strength steels (e.g., 590 and 980 MPa grades).

The use of these steels also helps reduce the weight of the 2014 model, which is, on average, 220 lb. lighter than the previous-generation model. It has a curb weight of 3,296 lb., which, according to Mitsubishi, is lighter than a comparable Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento LX, Toyota RAV4 LE, or Honda CRV.

Who knew?