2014 Toyota Corolla Scores "Marginal" In IIHS Small-Overlap Test

The 2014 Toyota Corolla received a score of "Marginal," the second-lowest rating, in small-overlap crash testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Institute said in a statement that although the 2014 Toyota Corolla is still a Top Safety Pick, it will not receive the more impressive Top Safety Pick+ designation given to cars that score "Acceptable" or "Good" in the small-overlap test.

The small-overlap test is the most rigorous of the IIHS' crash-test procedures. A fixed barrier impacts just 25 percent of the car's frontal surface, simulating a collision where a vehicle strikes a small object like a telephone pole or tree. In August, the IIHS tested several of the 2014 Toyota Corolla's key competitors and rated five of the compact sedans as Top Safety Pick+. Those cars, which scored either "Acceptable" or "Good" in the small-overlap test, where the 2013 Dodge Dart, 2013 Ford Focus, 2013 Honda Civic, 2013 Hyundai Elantra, and 2014 Scion tC.

In the small-overlap crash, the IIHS said that the driver of a 2014 Toyota Corolla would likely sustain serious leg injuries. Moreover, because the steering wheel moved four inches to the right in the crash, the test dummy's head "missed" the airbag and could have hit hard objects like the dashboard and A-pillar. The crash test is shown in the video embedded below.

Acing the small-overlap test and scoring a Top Safety Pick+ designation has become a badge of pride for most automakers. Toyota, however, has struggled with the new test. The Toyota Camry, Prius V, and RAV4 were all rated "Poor" in IIHS small-overlap testing. As a result, Toyota has said it will fast-track upgrades to improve the cars' performance in the IIHS crash test. Such a move is not without precedent: the 2014 Honda Odyssey received several tweaks specifically so the minivan would pass the small-overlap test and receive a Top Safety Pick+ rating.

The 2014 Toyota Corolla has a 1.8-liter inline-four engine that makes 132 hp in most trim levels and 140 hp in the Eco model. Pricing for the new compact sedan starts at $17,610, including destination.

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