The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded the 2014 Mercedes M-Class mid-size luxury SUV the highest designation of Top Safety Pick+.
The Mercedes M-Class thus becomes the first Mercedes to earn Top Safety Pick+ status since the IIHS began testing in 2012 for small overlap protection.
To earn Top Safety Pick+ requires good performance in four of five evaluations: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and seat/head restraint evaluations. The 2014 Mercedes M-Class demonstrated good performance in all five areas.
MORE: See our review of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
The automaker reinforced the door sills of the M-Class for models built after August 2013 in order to improve the vehicle’s protection in small overlap front crashes.
The Institute said in a release that the driver’s space in the Mercedes was “maintained reasonably well,” with injuries measured on the dummy showing possible left lower leg injuries but a low risk of significant injuries to other body regions.
Furthermore, the dummy’s head “made good contact with the front airbag,” which stayed in position during the crash. The side curtain airbag deployed and “had sufficient forward coverage” to protect the head from contact with the vehicle’s side structures and outside objects.
Safety features in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class include nine standard airbags and the Mercedes’ Attention Assist system that monitors the driver for drowsiness. Optional safety equipment includes a rearview camera, a blind-spot monitoring system, and the Parktronic system for parallel parking assistance.