• 2014 Jeep Cherokee and FIAT 500L earn Top Safety Pick
  • Received Good rating in four of five IIHS crash tests
  • Chrysler currently offering many safety-conscious choices

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee and FIAT 500L are the latest Chrysler Group vehicles to have been recognized as Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). To earn this coveted designation, vehicles must earn a Good rating in four of the five IIHS crash tests, including front moderate overlap, rear impact, side impact and rollover. Good is the highest possible score in IIHS evaluation.

While the Jeep touts an impressive array of close to 70 available safety and security features, the 500L, a longer and larger variant of the FIAT 500, also brings a robust inventory of almost 40 such attributes and technologies. Both models include 10 standard airbags encompassing all-row full-length side curtain airbags, driver/front passenger knee airbags, and front- and rear-seat-mounted side pelvic thorax airbags. In addition, the Cherokee and 500L benefit from front and rear crumple zones, a safety cage body structure, side guard door reinforcement beams, front seat belt pretensioners and front seat belt load limiters designed to augment chest loading in an impact event, as well as reactive head restraints that deploy in the event of a rear collision. The two models also boast ample quantities of high-strength steel in their overall construction, which further optimizes the structural integrity of both vehicles' passenger compartments.

A number of other cars from Chrysler Group have also earned IIHS Top Safety Pick designations in recent months. These include the 2013 FIAT 500 subcompact; the 2013 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans; the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivans; the 2013 Dodge Journey, 2014 Dodge Durango and 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee midsize utilities; and the 2014 Jeep Patriot small utility. This growing roster gives consumers a lot of safety-conscious choices from Chrysler.

Chrysler also has three vehicles that recently qualified for Top Safety Pick+ distinction. These three models are the 2013 Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. For Top Safety Pick+ honors, a vehicle must earn no less than an Acceptable rating in the new IIHS small overlap front crash test, in addition to scoring Good on all four of the other previously mentioned tests. The small overlap front crash test simulates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or a static object, such as a road sign, tree or telephone pole.

What it means to you: With safety being such a big concern, especially among family buyers, Chrysler appears to be churning out plenty of cars made to keep drivers and passengers feeling safe and secure. And the 2014 Jeep Cherokee and FIAT 500L are the newest on that list. For a complete rundown of IIHS Top Safety Picks, visit their website.

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Jessica Shea Choksey is an automotive journalist and former writer/reporter for the PBS/Discovery Channel television series "MotorWeek." She began her career in journalism as an editor for numerous magazines and publications mainly outside of the automotive field. Jessica currently resides with her family, in Southern California.

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