The redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla failed to score good ratings on the small overlap crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The overhauled compact Corolla received a "marginal" score on the small overlap test, which simulates a 40 mph crash in which the driver-side corner of a vehicle hits an object like a utility pole or tree.
IIHS introduced the new test partly because around 25 percent of highway deaths caused by head-on collisions result from small overlap crashes. The 2014 Corolla’s marginal score in the small overlap test rendered it unqualified to receive any IIHS honors in 2014, when an "acceptable" or "good" score on the small overlap test is a prerequisite for either Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ honors. The 2014 Corolla’s failure to get a good score is also a blow for Toyota, which has been struggling with the test since it was launched in 2012.
Three Toyota vehicles -- the Toyota Camry sedan, the Prius V hybrid and RAV4 crossover – all received "poor" ratings on the small overlap test for 2013.
The Japanese carmaker defended its safety reputation by noting that it has 21 cars with Top Safety Pick honors for 2013 -- more than any other carmaker. The ratings for 2013, however, are based on traditional frontal, side and rollover crashes.
IIHS, however, has changed its criteria for 2014, which means those models might lose the honors unless they do well in small overlap crashes. Toyota said in a recent statement that it is working to make its cars safer, but questioned whether the small overlap test is realistic. Toyota spokesman John Hanson remarked they need to be confident that the changes needed to accommodate the new IIHS tests will improve overall safety in real world crashes.