The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's recently launched small overlap front crash test is one of the more stringent in the industry. A number of compact cars earned top scores of acceptable and good in the test, but the newly redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla wasn't originally tested. Today, IIHS released its results and the Corolla scored a rating of marginal in the crash test, one step up from poor, the lowest score.
From the report: "Structural performance was poor and the driver's space was seriously compromised by intruding structure. Measures from the dummy indicate that injuries to the left lower leg would be possible in a real-world crash of this severity. The dummy's head contacted the front airbag but rolled to the left as the steering wheel moved 4 inches to the right. That left the head vulnerable to contact with forward structures like the windshield pillar and dashboard. The side curtain airbag deployed and had sufficient forward coverage to protect the head from contact with forward side structure, such as the roof rail and interior door panel, and outside objects."
While the photo (above) of the Corolla in the small overlap front crash test is jaw-dropping, the image of a top performer like the Honda Civic (below), which scored a good in the crash test, looks almost identical at first glance.
The test simulates a car hitting an object like a tree or light pole at 40 mph.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla does earn the top score of good in IIHS' other four crash tests and has been named a Top Safety Pick.
Compact cars that have earned a good rating in the small overlap front test and are designated Top Safety Pick Plus include: