2015 Toyota RAV4 is a Top Safety Pick
John Goreham's picture

Toyota's 2015 RAV4 has an important safety change

Toyota made changes to the 2015 RAV4 that shoppers of new and used RAV4s should know about.

Although it is only in its second year of production, the current generation of the Toyota RAV4 has been undergoing important changes few know about, and which Toyota hasn’t highlighted. When it was released back in 2013, the RAV4 was tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The small frontal overlap test was relatively new at that time, but not so new that Toyota should have had any trouble with it. However, when tested by IIHS the RAV4 received a score of “Poor” on this test that simulates hitting a telephone pole with the front corner of the vehicle. Toyota took action and redesigned the crash structure.

For the 2015 model year, Toyota made changes under the skin to the front structure of the RAV4. When re-tested by IIHS the RAV4 aced its small frontal overlap test, and every other crash test. It scored “Good” across the board. Commenting on the small frontal overlap test result IIHS said in its full report “…the crash test indicates that the driver’s survival space was maintained very well…the risk of injury to the dummy’s legs and feet was low…the front and side airbags worked well together to keep the head form coming close to any stiff structure or outside objects that could cause injury.”

Although Toyota’s changes to the RAV4 to ace all its crash tests is laudable and earns the Top Safety Pick designation, it is not enough for the vehicle to earn the Top Safety Pick+ rating. For the + to be added a vehicle needs to have forward crash prevention that is either advanced or superior in its design. The 2015 RAV4 does not offer any forward crash prevention system. That will change in 2016 when the RAV4 will get the new low-cost, but technically advanced Toyota Safety System. Presumably the RAV4 will then qualify for the top safety designation in the US market.

The reason this story is newsworthy, beyond its interest to RAV4 shoppers and buyers, is that Toyota is the industry leader in safe vehicles. In this model year, Toyota had the most vehicles for which the Top Safety Pick + rating was earned. Of course, those tests are only predictors of safety. However, Toyota also had the most vehicles in which no driver was killed in the most recent study by IIHS. Toyota’s changes to the top-selling RAV4 show that when Toyota does launch a product that does not meet its standards for excellence, it moves to make it better as soon as possible rather than wait for the next redesign cycle.

Related News:
Toyota releases details on new 2016 RAV4 including new SE

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Hurray. But when you own a 2013 RAV4 that has an indoor swimming pool on the passenger floor well within warranty and less than 2 years old, Toyota air dries your car with a fan and tells you that it every is fine. The car is "operating as designed" even though the black sound-proofing foam attached to my floorboard is dry rotting and my carpet padding is discolored and compressed and doomed to mold. I live in Atlanta. The dealership I bought it from claimed that the water was caused by a clogged Sunroof Drainage Tube and that the water ran down the A-Pillar; however, when I took it to another Toyota dealership and they popped off the molding directly below the A-Pillar the padding behind it was "bone dry" (Service Manager's words not mine) and the padding underneath the Glove Compartment was DAMP. How can water running down the A-Pillar make a 90º turn? Lets say it did run down the A-Pillar. Guess what's in there? A Takata Curtain Airbag! What's the one thing you CANNOT do with these airbags? Get them wet. Where is the monumental recall centered in the US? In the Southeast (where I live), because it is HOT and HUMID. You need look no further than the RAV4 Owner's Manual and it warns of the potential of electrical fires if you get liquids in the car. But somehow my car is a special snowflake and is "operating as designed!!!" I want to have a look at those designs and have a few words with the RAV4 Genie while I'm at it. What is my wish? I wish I NEVER purchased a 2013 RAV4!!!! Toyota is just super responsive and concerned about their customers BTW. Toyota of North America and the NCDS DECLINED to repair my vehicle. Because you know when a house gets flooded they just air dry it with a fan and say everything is fine. They don't rip out the carpets and gut the dry wall. :P