2013 RAV4 gets poor ratings on IIHS small overlap test

Article by Anita Panait, on July 12, 2013

The redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4 received a "poor" rating in the small overlap test conducted by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The poor score in the small overlap test came despite updates to the RAV4s produced after April 2013. The updates include enhancing the stability of the steering column and installing more padding under the footwell carpeting. Commenced in 2012, the small overlap test simulates what happens when the front part of a vehicle collides with another object like a tree, telephone pole or another car.

It assesses how well vehicles could manage 40-mph frontal collisions wherein there is a 25-percent overlap with a 5-foot-tall barrier. IIHS said in a statement that after the test, the driver's space of the RAV4 was "seriously compromised by intruding structure, and the dummy's left foot was trapped by crushed and buckled sheet metal in the footwell." Worse, the dummy's head hardly touched the frontal airbag before sliding off to the left side.

The steering column also shifted over 7 inches to the right. IIHS said that such occurrence results in "little airbag cushioning for the chest." The institute noted that the RAV4's seat belt allowed "excessive forward movement of the dummy's head and torso," which contributed to the head hitting the instrument panel. The RAV4, however, made a good performance in other areas.

The crossover received the institute's Top Safety Pick honors for "good" ratings in the moderate overlap, side, rollover and rear tests. Toyota said in a statement that with the small overlap test, the IIHS has "raised the bar again," and the carmaker is responding to the challenge. The carmaker said they are looking for solutions to "achieve greater crash performance in this area." 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 will feature an array of powertrain technologies that should help the SUV deliver a more engaging drive. It will be headlined by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that would generate 176 hp of max output at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,100 rpm. The 2013 model year won’t feature optional V6 engine that was available in the previous generation.

Also gone will be the four-speed automatic gearbox, which will be replaced by a six-speed transmission with Sequential Shift, which has its first and second gear ratios optimized to deliver an around-town performance. Its fifth and sixth gears are overdrives, which should keep the engine rpm lower at highway speeds, thereby improving fuel mileage.

Front-wheel-drive versions of the Toyota RAV4 are EPA-estimated to return 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, while all-wheel-drive models are EPA-estimated to achieve 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Interestingly, the new Toyota RAV4 is provided with a new Eco mode that promotes more efficient driving.

Moreover, the new RAV4 is loaded with new technologies like a Sport Mode with Dynamic Torque Control AWD as well as optimized electric power steering. Its suspension has been refined, with the spring rates further enhanced and the shock absorbers tuned to offer make the vehicle easier to handle. The new RAV4 comes with a MacPherson strut suspension on the front and double-wishbone suspension on the rear. The LE grade rides on 17-inch steel wheels. Meanwhile, the XLE and the Limited trims ride on 17-inch and 18-inch alloys wheels, respectively. 

Topics: toyota, toyota rav4, iihs

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