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Driver airbag in Toyota RAV4 fails to stop dummy’s head in crash test

Driver airbag in Toyota RAV4 fails to stop dummy’s head in crash test Toyota RAV4 Front crash test
Tristan Honeywill

The Toyota RAV4 has received five stars in a Euro NCAP safety assessment, but lost critical points in the frontal impact test when the driver’s airbag failed to inflate sufficiently. The dummy’s head flattened the airbag and made contact with the steering wheel through the airbag material. Although the dummy readings showed that the contact was not dangerous, this is not supposed to happen and the incident coincided with a Toyota Auris suffering an unplanned door opening during another Euro NCAP test.

Crash dummy’s head flattened the airbag in Toyota RAV4 “The dummy reading said the head was fine and there was no serious consequence, but we saw it happen,” Euro NCAP project manager Aled Williams told Car Safety Rules. “It’s really just a matter of how robustly designed the airbag system is. In a slightly different accident with a slightly different sized person, it could have been more serious.”

The rest of the assessment went well with the RAV4 providing good protection to all body parts. Whiplash scores were good and in the severe pole-strike test, the chest was adequately protected. Child protection was also good, but Euro NCAP noted that care is needed when installing some child seats.

On safety assistance systems for the driver, the RAV4 doesn’t offer as much as other vehicles in this class. Seatbelt reminders and stability control are fine, but don’t provide the level of reassurance that other technologies do.

On safety assistance systems for the driver, the RAV4 offer fewer options than some other vehicles in this class. Seatbelt reminders and stability control are standard, but provide less reassurance than more advanced driver assistance systems.

Toyota plans to offer an optional blind spot monitor that uses radar in the side mirrors to monitor the bits of the road the driver can’t see. This will be available as an option on the top-of-the-range “Invincible” model.

Competition between compact SUVs for family buyers has intensified in the last five years. Families love this type of vehicle because they’re roomy and practical with the reassurance of a bit more weight and a higher ride height. Many now also offer technologies to warn a distracted driver of a hazard in the road ahead and their popularity has been growing steadily.

Having this kind of system on-board makes a real difference to safety and the driver’s sense of security. It also makes it much less likely that you’ll ever worry about whether the driver’s airbag is a bit droopy.

“It’s really just a matter of how robustly designed the airbag system is. In a slightly different accident with a slightly different sized person, it could have been more serious.”

Aled Williams, Euro NCAP project manager

Buyer’s guide

Prices for the car start at £22,595 with the “Invincible” available from £28,195. Buyers should also consider test-driving the Ford Kuga and Vauxhall/Opel Mokka, safe choices for compact SUVs

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