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The 2023 Toyota RAV4 has been one of the most popular compact SUVs in the market for several years. The rugged appearance, affordable price, and reliable reputation make the RAV4 an easy choice for many consumers. Recently, the IIHS created a new crash test to learn how safe rear passengers are in vehicles. How well did the Toyota RAV4 score in this new test?

What is the new IIHS rear-seat passenger crash test?

The new IIHS crash test is similar to the front overlap test already conducted. Instead of the crash-test dummies occupying the front seat, they’re placed in the rear seats. A Hybrid III dummy, representing the average-sized woman or 12-year-old child, occupies the seat behind the driver. The vehicle is then propelled to 40 mph toward a barrier with a deformable face to create the simulated crash.

How well did the 2023 RAV4 score in this new crash test?

2023 Toyota RAV4 Posed on a City Street
2023 Toyota RAV4 Posed on a City Street | Toyota

The new Toyota RAV4 wasn’t the top performer overall but the third-best compact SUV. The top performers in the class were the Ford Escape and Volvo XC40. Although the Volvo XC40 doesn’t compete with the Toyota RAV4, the Ford Escape does. The Escape and XC40 are the only vehicles to earn the highest scores of “Good” in this new test. The Toyota RAV4 earned a score of “Acceptable.”  

How did other popular compact SUVs fare in this new IIHS crash test?

The Escape, XC40, and RAV4 are the only three compact SUVs to achieve the highest two levels for this new rear-seat passenger crash test. The Audi Q3, Nissan Rogue, and Subaru Forester all achieved a “Marginal” rating in this test. Several others receive scores of “Poor,” among these are:

  • Buick Encore
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda HR-V
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Jeep Compass
  • Jeep Renegade
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

As you can see, the compact SUV class has a lot of work to ensure many vehicles’ rear seat area is much safer than before.

Why did the IIHS add a new crash test to the mix?

2023 Toyota RAV4 Parked on Top of a Hill
2023 Toyota RAV4 Parked on Top of a Hill | Toyota

The IIHS is well-known for developing the most comprehensive crash tests. This new test takes a few factors into account. Typically, children ride in the rear seat. It’s important to know that children can be safe when you drive your 2023 Toyota RAV4. This is why the test is conducted with a dummy that isn’t equivalent to a full-size man.

Another reason for this new crash test is the expansion of ride-share and ride-hailing services. The next time you order an Uber or Lyft driver, you’ll understand how safe you are in the vehicle’s rear seat.

How poorly did the poor-rated vehicles score in the new IIHS crash test?

In all nine cases, the poor-rated compact SUVs indicated high head, neck, and chest injury risks for rear passengers. The seat belt exerted excessive force on the chest of the second-row dummy.

Crash results for the CR-V and CX-5 show the rear dummy’s shoulder best position was very high, lowering the effectiveness of the restraint system.

During the test for the Eclipse Cross, Encore, and Tucson, the rear passenger dummy came close to making contact with the front seatback.

 The dummy’s head was between the side curtain airbag and the window following the initial impact in the Encore, Renegade, and Tucson.

We can go on, but you get the idea.

Should this put the 2023 Toyota RAV4 higher on your list?

When making the list of potential vehicles for your next ride, this Toyota SUV should be near the top if that vehicle will be a compact SUV. Based on the new IIHS rear-seat passenger crash test results, the Ford Escape and Volvo XC40 should be a little higher than the RAv4.


What Makes the 2022 Toyota RAV4 an Excellent SUV to Drive?