- The redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4 earned a poor rating for performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test.
- Toyota made additional changes to models built after April, improving the stability of the steering column and adding more padding under the footwell carpeting.
- "The changes, however, weren't enough to lift the RAV4's performance in the small overlap test," said the IIHS.
ARLINGTON, Virginia — The redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4 earned a poor rating for performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test.
Toyota made additional changes to models built after April, improving the stability of the steering column and adding more padding under the footwell carpeting.
"The changes, however, weren't enough to lift the RAV4's performance in the small overlap test," said the IIHS. "A combination of poor structure and inadequate control of the dummy's movement prevented the RAV4 from earning better than a poor rating overall."
It added: "The driver's space was seriously compromised by intruding structure, and the dummy's left foot was trapped by crushed and buckled sheet metal in the footwell." The "poor" rating is the lowest designation on the small overlap test.
However, the RAV4 still earned the Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS for "good" ratings in the moderate overlap, side, rollover and rear tests. The 2013 RAV4 earned four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under its five-star safety-rating program.
"The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) periodically develops new, more severe or specialized tests that go beyond federal requirements," said Toyota in a statement. "With the small over-lap test, the Institute has raised the bar again, and we are responding to the challenge. We are looking at a range of solutions to achieve greater crash performance in this area."
With the 2015 Lexus NX on the horizon from Toyota, it's likely the automaker will be making even more modifications before bringing that new model to market. The future NX 200t and NX300h are based on the current RAV4, sharing the same XA 40 platform.
The new IIHS test simulates what happens when a driver crashes the left front quarter of a vehicle into an object such as a tree, telephone pole or another car.
The IIHS released results for 13 other small SUVs in May but delayed testing the RAV4 because of the changes Toyota was making to the redesigned model.
In the earlier results, only the Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap crash test.
"This is a challenging test," said Adrian Lund, IIHS president, in a statement. "Most manufacturers are going to need to make significant changes to their vehicles in order to improve protection in these kinds of serious frontal crashes."
Edmunds says: Toyota is not alone in needing to make changes to its small SUV in order to win high marks in this tough new crash test.