• Subaru's new WRX and WRX STI earn IIHS Top Safety Pick scores
  • Both models earned Good ratings in all five IIHS tests
  • The 2015 WRX and WRX STI are on sale now

The 2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI have earned Top Safety Pick designations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That's the latest from the nonprofit, which recently announced the ratings after crash-testing the newly redesigned high-performance Subaru models.

According to IIHS, the Top Safety Pick classification came after both the WRX and WRX STI earned the organization's top rating -- Good -- in all five of its tests. That even includes the new small front-overlap test, which has proven difficult for many compact cars. In the small overlap test, the subject car strikes a barrier -- meant to replicate a utility pole or tree -- on the driver's side at 40 miles per hour.

The WRX and STI's Top Safety Pick ratings will come as no surprise to many safety-conscious car shoppers, as the regular Subaru Impreza already earned the same stellar rating late last year. While the WRX and STI are heavily based on the Impreza, IIHS says the high-performance models are different enough to warrant separate crash tests.

In addition to their excellent performances in the small front-overlap test, the WRX and WRX STI also returned good scores in each of IIHS' other tests: moderate front overlap, side impact, roof strength and head restraints. Each test measures an entirely different part of the car's crashworthiness, from the risk of rollover damage to the potential for injury to a back-seat child in a side impact.

The excellent IIHS rating is yet another feather in the cap of Subaru's 268-horsepower WRX, which was revealed late last year at the Los Angeles Auto Show to major fanfare. Much to the excitement of car enthusiasts, an even sportier WRX STI debuted a few months later at the Detroit Auto Show, this time with a 305-hp engine. Both models are officially on sale now.

What it means to you: Although you may buy the 2015 Subaru WRX or WRX STI for performance, excellent crash-test scores are a key added benefit.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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