Safety: 2011 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 TOP SAFETY PICK image

For the first time, the 2011 Dodge Charger and 2011 Chrysler 300 have been named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The TOP SAFETY PICK designation recognizes the vehicles that afford the best overall crash protection. In addition to good crash test ratings, winners must have electronic stability control (ESC), an important crash-avoidance feature, which is standard on the Charger and 300.

Chrysler significantly improved the safety performance of these vehicles for 2011. The previous generation Charger and 300 earned the second lowest rating of marginal for side impact protection, even when equipped with head-protecting side curtain airbags. The previous cars were also rated marginal for rear impact protection. This is the first time that these cars have been rated in the Institute’s roof strength test for rollover protection. The roof of the Charger withstood a force equal to 5.37 times the car’s weight. By comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight. ESC, which was optional on the previous generation models, is now standard.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to rate the Charger or the 300 under its more stringent ratings system for 2011.