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."