Toyota may have performed some major surgery on the 2014 Corolla, but that hasn't helped the Japanese automaker overcome tough new crash test procedures. The Corolla, Toyota's bread-and-butter compact sedan, managed only a Marginal score on the new small overlap crash test, which was just added last year.

Despite the low score, the Corolla performed well in the moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear testing, which was enough to score it a 2013 Top Safety Pick. In testing in August, six of the Corolla's competitors earned the Top Safety Pick + award, for good or acceptable scores across the board.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Corolla's "Marginal" score was down to an "intruding structure," that could cause injuries to the lower left leg. There was also concern that in a collision, the driver's head would move after hitting the air bag, and collide with the A-pillar or dash.

Take a look below for the crash test video, as well as a press release from the IIHS.

Show full PR text
Redesigned Toyota Corolla earns marginal rating in small overlap front crash test

The 2014 Toyota Corolla, a small car redesigned for the 2014 model year, earns a marginal rating for performance in the IIHS small overlap front crash test.

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 like the roof rail and interior door panel and outside objects.

The Institute in August released results for 12 other small cars but didn't test the Corolla because the redesigned model was about to be released. If design changes are imminent, the Institute delays tests to ensure that IIHS ratings don't soon become obsolete. The practice also encourages automakers to improve designs more quickly.

In the earlier tests of the small cars, half earned a good or acceptable rating for occupant protection in a small overlap crash and qualified for the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ designation. Six other small cars earned marginal or poor ratings.

The Institute added the small overlap test to its lineup of vehicle safety evaluations last year. It replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or a utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. A 50th percentile male Hybrid III dummy is belted in the driver seat.

The Corolla currently qualifies for the 2013 TOP SAFETY PICK award, without the +, for good ratings in the Institute's four other tests – moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 137 Comments
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wouldn't be caught dead in a Corolla...or maybe?
      vi_per
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ouch. That crash doesn't look too good.
      Stinkyboy
      • 1 Year Ago
      OUCH!
      Jesus!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is that the battery flying out?! When the front clip goes flying off it seems like its saying " weeeeee imm freeee!!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      Damn whats that wall made out of?
      Black Dyanmite
      • 1 Year Ago
      Obviously, with Toyota being the #1 brand in Top Safety Picks, Toyota can do better. They haven't licked this test yet, but they will. A revised Camry is coming next year, and the all-new Highlander first of the year as well. Tests results will improve, just not as quickly as we'd like...... BD
        mikeybyte1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        Corolla is KING.... of crash victim injuries in offset frontal impacts.
        mbukukanyau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        Well, this revision has been quite poor. Most likely becouse its a re-updated 1990's platform. You can only put soo much lipstick on ze pig.
        GR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        By "Toyota being the #1 brand in Top Safety Picks" you are including Subaru too, right? Toyota alone is an embarrassment. They need to get schooled by Subaru on safety.
      MJC
      • 1 Year Ago
      First the Camry, then the RAV4, now this. And yet people continue in droves to buy this garbage.
        FutureDoc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MJC
        My 13yo Toyota in which the only "repairs" I have had to make in the last 7 years have been wearing components like my brake pads, rotors, and struts (I also do some AutoX). That is why people continue in droves to buy something that does not break... unless you graze a wall bolted to the floor that rips 1/4 of th car off. Poor safety testing is hurting Toyota and no about of reliability is going to solve the problem.
          superchan7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FutureDoc
          To be fair, 13 years ago cars generally performed less capably in ANY crash test, including the basic full-width frontal test.
          MJC
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FutureDoc
          You can buy a Honda instead and have the same reliability while also owning a market-leading product as opposed to an also-ran.
          Matt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FutureDoc
          That's the point, your 13 year old Toyota was built like a tank. New ones? Not so much. You won't see that 2014 Toyota driving around, running strong, with just minimal maintenance in 2027.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MJC
        You sound like every other model from every other brand aces this test. Try the Mercedes C-class and Audi A4. Must be some garbage.
          MJC
          • 1 Year Ago
          @superchan7
          The C-Class and A4 are not brand new models which were reportedly designed with this test in mind.
      truckguy
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM cars have the best crash test. Toy Ouch A Not So Much.
        TRAILbrake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @truckguy
        The Cruze scored the same as this Corolla, derp. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv2CX91Ai4M
        Tourian
        • 1 Year Ago
        @truckguy
        The Cruze is also an older design. This Toyota is brand new to the market.
        GR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @truckguy
        "GM" cars? The Cruze (rival to the Corolla) was designed by Daewoo of South Korea which is a GM subsidiary. It's as American as Bibimbap with a side of kimchi and aloe water.
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GR
          "It's as American as Bibimbap with a side of kimchi and aloe water." That gave me a good laugh. +1 to you, sir.
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't know why this is a big deal in the media? I'm no fanboy but these other models scored marginal to poor in the small overlap front test in the "small car" segment. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/v/class-summary/small-cars Marginal: 2014 Chevy Cruze 2013 Chevy Sonic 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Poor: 2014 KIA Forte 2013 KIA Soul 2013 Nissan Sentra
        FutureDoc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cruising
        It is one thing to score poorly/marginal, it is another thing to "redesign" the car and then score poorly (so VW is guilty as well). If it is a new redesign, I expect "Acceptable" or better depending on how recently the test has been rolled out.
          Carmaker1
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FutureDoc
          Now how long does it take to design a car in response to news that's several months old? VW designs up to 3 years ahead of production start, unlike Toyota's 18-24 months. The Beetle's design is 5 years old, being frozen in 2008. It was up to VW to either to crash test the Beetle prototypes in 2008-2010 for a smaller overlap or wait until they're caught off guard by a third-party (IIHS) years later. Toyota likely signed off on general safety design engineering for the Corolla almost 2 years ago, then later hearing warnings from IIHS in May/June 2012 and seeing the Camry results in December "woke" them up. Making for a last minute 2013 fix-up that was too late and insufficient for a proper solution. They will likely continue to fail until at least 18 months of engineering time since mid-late 2012, goes into production in 2014-15.
        Carmaker1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cruising
        Correction: *18-24 months of engineering time*
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      How safe do these cars need to be? If you build it up it gets heavier, slower, and less efficient, and more expensive then you counter that with even more exotic fuel economy tech further increasing price and often times weight too.
        straferhoo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        If Honda, Ford and Hyundai can do it, why can't Toyota?
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        I'd much rather survive an accident than worry about how much my car weighs or how fast it gets 0-60.
          11fiveoh
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          Have fun in your bubble
          Bernard
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          Then drive a million dollar tank. I'd much rather be able to afford decent fun transportation then be stuck paying for an overly expensive slow metal box "for my safety."
        SubieFan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        Will you still be quoting that when you're lying in a hospital with injuries that a safer car could have prevented or reduced drastically?
          Bernard
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SubieFan
          What's that going to do for the guy you ran over in the crosswalk? Are we going to put airbags on the hood of the car so that guy can walk again? Why don't we just put in 4 point harnesses, a full roll cage, automatic fire extinguishers, and cover the exterior and interior in thousands of airbags and charge $100k for the luxury of driving a 5,000 lbs armored box, with zero luxury, cramped space for 4 midgets, gets 30 mpg, and hits 60 in only 30 agonizing seconds? If I want my car to be that safe, I'll drive it safely like I'm already doing.
      TRAILbrake
      • 1 Year Ago
      The root to all of Toyota's failures boils down to poor chassis engineering. I've never been more miserable in a car than when I was stuck with a 2012 Corolla S rental - it was a penalty box. Poor handling, poor dynamics, poor ride quality, poor feedback, poor response... the list is endless. I couldn't find a single positive trait about the car except that it wasn't mine and I wouldn't need to drive it much longer than the 3-day rental. My very first car was a Corolla (AE92) GT-S coupe - the FWD model; second car was a Corolla FX16 GT-S. The 2012 Corolla isn't even in the same realm of quality and fun-to-drive as those two.
        fx16gts
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TRAILbrake
        Wow! I love the Fx 16 gts Corolla.That car was so cool.My grandmother bought one brand new and. I use to love watching the tachometer spin to 7500 rpm. By far my most favorite corolla ....also the rarest.....what color did you have?
        The Friendly Grizzly
        @TRAILbrake
        Trail: I have had several Corollae as rentals over the past 15 or so years. I agree: a dismal driving experience indeed. In addition to what you listed above, I just found SOMETHING about them that bothered me. Even the Dodge Calibre I got saddled with in Ft Lauderdale a few years back drove better. I now refuse Corollas if the rental car people even try to give me one.
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