Which Subaru models have the best safety rating? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced models that have improved their safety rating, and the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Ascent, and Legacy make the new IIHS list. Subaru gets the top safety scores by eliminated inferior headlights and giving all trims the best lights.
The IIHS made more stringent requirements for cars to get the top ratings beginning with 2020 models. Vehicles have only been able to qualify for the higher IIHS awards if they come equipped with good or acceptable headlights across all trims.
Subaru improved the headlights on three models that had earned Top Safety Pick+ awards for their 2020 models; the Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, and Subaru Legacy. Previously, these vehicles were available with different headlights that earned both good and acceptable ratings. By 2021, good-rated headlights are now standard on all trims.
The IIHS says around half of all fatal crashes in the U.S. occur in the dark, and more than a quarter occur on unlit roads. Because Subaru did not offer the best headlights on all trims, the IIHS rated the base and Premium Subaru models lower. They did not qualify for the highest Top Safety Pick+ rating.
The 2020 Ascent family hauler missed the highest score because of its headlights. The 2021 Subaru Ascent improved from the Top Safety Pick award to Top Safety Pick+ by eliminating its marginal headlight packages from the 2020 model year.
2020 Ascent base and Premium trim levels had Halogen projector headlights, which received a “Poor” rating from the IIHS, resulting in Ascent earning a Top Safety Pick and not the highest Top Safety Pick Plus award. Those headlights are not curve-adaptive and do not have high-beam assist.
All 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Ascent, and Legacy trim levels now come with steering responsive LED headlights (low and high beam) for improved visibility when driving at night. The responsive headlights aim the headlight beams in the direction the vehicle is turning and not merely pointing straight ahead.
The 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, Ascent, and Legacy get the top safety scores from the IIHS by eliminated inferior headlights on lower trims. Look for Subaru to upgrade all its models with the new steering responsive LED headlights.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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