Photo of 2015 Subaru WRX courtesy of Subaru.

Photo of 2015 Subaru WRX courtesy of Subaru.

The sporty 2015 Subaru WRX has drawn the 2014 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The award recognizes the car’s favorable performance in IIHS crashworthiness evaluations, including the small overlap front test.

This is the first time IIHS has rated the WRX, which was completely redesigned for 2015.

In the small overlap test, the structure of the WRX held up and the driver's space was maintained well, IIHS said. The dummy's movement was well controlled, and measures taken from the dummy indicated a low risk of any significant injuries.

The dummy's head made good contact with the front airbag, which stayed in position during the crash. The side airbag deployed with enough forward coverage to protect the head from contact with the side structure and outside objects, IIHS said.

IIHS introduced the small overlap evaluation in 2012. In the test, which is more challenging than either NHTSA's head-on crashes or the IIHS moderate overlap test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph. The crash replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole.

The WRX also earned “good” ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

With the addition of the WRX, Subaru now has six models that have earned 2014 safety awards from IIHS. Three were named a Top Safety Pick, and three were designated as a Top Safety Pick+. To qualify for Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn a “good” or “acceptable” rating for small overlap protection and a “good” rating in the other four tests. The "plus" is awarded to vehicles that meet those criteria and also earn a rating of “basic” or higher for front crash prevention.

The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Subaru WRX is one of the brand’s performance models and comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 268 horsepower engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The higher-performance WRX STI model features a turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine that produces 305 hp.

"Safety is one of our brand tenets, so we are extremely proud to have earned a TSP rating for our performance models," said Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer for Subaru of America Inc. “We are committed to providing engaging driving together with safety, and this award is testament to that commitment.”

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet