A new crash test developed by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) will test the safety of the passenger side on the tough small frontal overlap test. In the first round of testing, two popular midsize cars were found to be underperforming in the new test.
The new test came about when IIHS did an experiment. Instead of crashing the cars on the driver's side, like it has always done, IIHS crashed them on the passenger side. Popular models that had earned scores of Good on the driver's side were found to have much lower scores on the passenger side. The Toyota RAV4 was the most extreme example. It actually scored Poor on the passenger side test and IIHS reported they could see with the naked eye the missing support sections Toyota had opted not to install.
In the most recent test, the Toyota Camry Scores Good. Automakers had a heads-up that the change was coming and most acted to ensure their key models were ready. Volkswagen and General Motors opted not to. Both the VW Passat and Chevy Malibu scored below Acceptable, and thus will not be eligible for the Top Safety Pick Plus awad in 2018. IIHS has made other changes to the Top Safety Pick Plus requirements for 2018 as well.