July 27, 2004

U.S. ‘good’ side impact scores for Toyota RAV4 don’t apply to Canada

Arlington, Virginia – New optional side airbags on the U.S. model 2004 Toyota RAV4 helped raise its score in a 31 mph side impact crash test from ‘poor’ to ‘good’, giving it a “Best Pick” designation, reported the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Monday. However, as side airbags are not available in Canada, the ‘good’ scores don’t apply to Canadian RAV4s.

In a 40 mph frontal/offset crash test, the 2004 RAV4 improved from ‘acceptable’ to ‘good’ and a “Best Pick” due to new front-end structural modifications. Both U.S. and Canadian RAV4s include the same modifications and dual front airbags.

The Institute also tested the 2005 Subaru Legacy, which earned a good rating and a “best pick” designation in the frontal test but a marginal rating in the side impact test. The Institute conducted two side impact crash tests of the Legacy. In the first test, the standard side curtain airbag deployed improperly, so the driver dummy’s head was hit by the intruding barrier. Subaru found that the side airbags weren’t folded correctly at the factory where they were produced. Subaru corrected the problem and recalled Legacy models manufactured earlier. When the Institute tested another Legacy with the modified airbags, the driver side curtain inflated properly.

“The heads of the front and rear dummies were protected by the airbag,” Lund says, “but other measures taken from the driver dummy indicated the likelihood of rib fractures and internal organ injuries plus the possibility of pelvic fractures. These kept the Legacy from earning a higher than marginal rating.”

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