After a string of subpar results in IIHS testing, Toyota is working behind the scenes to improve safety of the new Corolla and other models

How hard can it be? If you ask that question to Toyota regarding their small overlap testing results, their answer could be very hard indeed.

After the 2014 Corolla achieved only a “marginal” score in the small overlap test, Toyota is sending the compact model back to the engineering department in a hurry in order to improve its results, possibly rolling out the improvements before the end of the model year.

But, there is more to this story than simply not fairing well in the test.

Speaking with Toyota’s executive vice president Mitsuhisa Kato through a translator, has learned the Japanese automaker has already begun making improvements to the Corolla and other models to better perform on the test. However, when speaking with another spokesperson, was told Toyota has known about the inevitability of the test since 2009. Due to the conservative nature of Toyota’s development processes, the company “didn’t want to start planning for the test until it had become official.”

This goes to show automakers will build to perform well in the test and not necessarily to make us safer.

Improvements to the Corolla are expected to add as much as 220 lbs in extra weight. The refreshed Honda Civic, which saw an emergency redo for 2013, added 125 lbs in weight to improve the safety structure and is the only small car to receive a “good” rating in the small overlap test to date.

Connect with