The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has bestowed the 2011 Dodge Durango with its coveted Top Safety Pick rating. This means that the Durango received top scores of “Good” in frontal offset, side impact, roof strength and rear crash tests, and comes standard with electronic stability control.

The IIHS added a caveat that the title only applies to Durango models built after May 2011. This is because Chrysler, Dodge’s parent company, made improvements to the SUV’s side airbags beginning that month.

The Durango is the fourth vehicle in Dodge’s lineup to receive the rating. The Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger and Dodge Journey have also received the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick rating. Notable exclusions include Dodge’s fast-selling muscle car, the Challenger, which hasn’t been tested yet, and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, which hasn’t undergone roof strength tests yet. However, both of these vehicles scored well in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so they’re still safe to buy. Both received top scores of five out of five stars in each of NHTSA’s last-generation, less stringent crash tests, except the rollover test, where both earned four out of five stars.

If you’re in the market for a three-row crossover, reviewers say the all-new 2011 Dodge Durango is a good choice. It’s the only affordable midsize SUV with an available V8 engine, and has lots of family-friendly interior features inside a cabin that’s classy compared with competitors. It starts out at $29,195, which is about $835 more than the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer, but the auto press says its third row is more adult-friendly than the Explorer, and it has aggressive styling that will stand out in the car pool line. The 2011 Ford Explorer is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

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