2014 Subaru Forester Aces Tough New Crash Test, Earns New IIHS 2013 Top Safety Pick + Rating

May 16, 2013, Cherry Hill, N.J, Subaru of America, Inc. today announced that the all-new 2014 Forester has received a Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2014 Subaru Forester is the first vehicle to ace every aspect of the challenging small overlap
front crash test conducted by the IIHS. The Forester is the only one of 13 small SUVs to earn an overall rating of good in the test. This is not the first time that the Forester has stood out in a new IIHS crash test. When the Institute first rated small SUVs for side protection in 2003, the Subaru model performed the best and was one of only two vehicles to earn good ratings.

In other news: the Toyota Rav4 does not so well:

Automotive News
July 11, 2013 - 3:11 pm ET

Despite a redesign, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 struggled in an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety test that 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.

Toyota made updates to RAV4s built after April, improving the stability of the steering column and adding more padding under the footwell carpeting.

Those changes, however, weren't enough to prevent it from getting a "poor" rating, the lowest designation, on the small overlap test.

The test -- unveiled last year -- examines how well vehicles handle 40-mph frontal collisions in which there is 25 percent overlap with a 5-foot-tall barrier, which is a modification of the institute's moderate 40 percent overlap test.

The driver's space of Toyota's crossover was "seriously compromised by intruding structure, and the dummy's left foot was trapped by crushed and buckled sheet metal in the footwell," the institute said in a statement today.

Further complicating things, the dummy's head hardly touched the frontal airbag before sliding off to the left side while the steering column moved more than 7 inches to the right. This occurrence results in "little airbag cushioning for the chest," according to the institute.

The institute also said the seat belt allowed "excessive forward movement of the dummy's head and torso, contributing to the head hitting the instrument panel."

The RAV4 performed well in other areas, nabbing the institute's Top Safety Pick honors for "good" ratings in the moderate overlap, side, rollover and rear tests.

Toyota said in a statement: The IIHS "periodically develops new, more severe or specialized tests that go beyond federal requirements. With the small overlap 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."

In May, the institute released results for 13 other small SUVs. It pushed back testing of the RAV4 because Toyota was updating the redesigned model, the institute said.

"If design changes are imminent, the institute delays tests to ensure that IIHS ratings don't soon become obsolete," the institute said. "The practice also encourages automakers to improve designs more quickly."

One of the main problems with small overlap crashes, according to the institute, is that the typical energy-absorbing structures on the front middle 50 percent of vehicles are never engaged.

Instead, the wheel is the first to receive blunt force during small overlap incidents, which account for 25 percent of the 10,000 fatal frontal accidents that occur each year.

IIHS President Adrian Lund said many manufacturers will have to make "significant changes" to improve protection in these collisions.

Toyota sold 101,274 RAV4s in the United States during the first half of the year, a 13 percent gain in an overall market that has risen 8 percent

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