The 2013 Toyota RAV4 may have been an all-new model earlier this year, but the design changes made were not enough to earn it the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's coveted new Top Safety Pick+ award, which adds a small front overlap test to the organization's other tests, including moderate front overlap, side, rear, and rollover. The compact SUV earned a Poor score in the small front overlap tests, with testers noting the driver's area was "seriously compromised" by intruding structure, with the dummy's left foot trapped in crushed and buckled sheetmetal.

But the test dummy's upper body didn't fare much better. In testing, the steering column moved more than 7 inches to the right, compromising the cushioning effect of the airbag and causing the dummy's head to hit the instrument panel. These results were even after Toyota had asked that the Institute postpone its testing so it could provide an updated model with improved bracing of the steering column, and added padding under the footwell carpeting.

The only small SUVs to earn the top Good rating in the small front overlap test are the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Subaru Forester. All other small SUVs tested to date have earned a Marginal or Poor rating in that specific test. The 2013 RAV4 does hang on to its "Top Safety Pick" designation for earning a Good score in all other IIHS test categories.

Source: IIHS