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2020 Subaru Outback collects Top Safety Pick, Legacy does even better

The Legacy bested the Outback and earned the Top Safety Pick Plus nod from the IIHS.

2020 Subaru Outback
Capable and safe: a good combination.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety this month bestowed high honors on the 2020 Subaru Outback and the 2020 Subaru Legacy, which both earned a safety award, with the rugged wagon nabbing a Top Safety Pick and the sedan going home with the highest accolade of a Top Safety Pick Plus.

To reiterate the criteria for these two awards, the Top Safety Pick award requires a Good rating in five of the IIHS' six crash tests, and at least an Acceptable rating in the passenger-side small-overlap front crash test. From there, a Top Safety Pick winner needs to earn an Advanced or Superior rating for its front-crash avoidance technology, either optional or standard. Finally, the model's headlights (again, optional or standard) need to earn at least an Acceptable rating.

To emerge from the barrage of tests with the coveted Plus designation, a vehicle must score a Good rating in all six crash tests. No room for an Acceptable grade here. It also needs a Good rating for at least one set of headlights offered.

2020 Subaru Legacy

This is one safe sedan.

Michael Shaffer/Subaru

The 2020 Outback nailed all of the requirements for the standard award, and even scored a Good rating in the passenger-side small-overlap front crash test. When the insurance industry-funded safety group got to the headlights, that's where the wagon fell a tad short. Headlights equipped on the costlier Limited, Touring and Onyx trims scored an Acceptable rating. All other trims feature headlights the IIHS rated Marginal. 

The 2020 Legacy sedan went just a little more above and beyond. Not only did it score top marks in the crash tests and earn a Superior rating for front-crash avoidance technology, but it aced the headlight exam with a Good score for Limited, Limited XT and Touring XT trims. All other trims are still Top Safety Pick winners since even base trims use headlights the IIHS rated Acceptable. The most expensive trims will get the Top Safety Pick Plus designation, however.

Prices for the safest of all Outback models start at $34,455 after a $1,010 destination charge. That'll put buyers into an Outback Limited -- the cheapest way to get the Acceptable headlights. For the Legacy, buyers will be looking at a $30,645 price tag after a $900 destination charge for the Limited model, which is also the least expensive trim with the top-rated headlights.

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