— The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is known for its stringent crash test methods, and one of those tests has been the undoing for a few models from Toyota and Audi, at least as far as Consumer Reports is concerned.
The small-overlap frontal crash test has claimed many victims because it's a test not performed by the government, and a test that automakers didn't have to face until last year.
The small-overlap test is designed to replicate what happens when only the front corner of a vehicle strikes an object. It's a test that shows some vehicles are much better than others at protecting their occupants in certain types of frontal collisions.
The top-selling Camry failed the test in December, 2013, but will have a chance to redeem itself during testing in December, 2013.
As for the Toyota RAV4, the crash-test dummy took a beating in the small-overlap test in July, 2013.
Consumer Reports has rules about what makes a vehicle worth recommending. A vehicle must score well in testing performed by the agency itself, have average or better reliability, and perform adequately if included in crash tests performed by the IIHS and the government.
This bold new test has been going for a year, so Consumer Reports says it's time to remove recommendations from any vehicle that received a "Poor" score in the test.
Because most of the models that scored poorly are already not recommended by Consumer Reports for other reasons, the A4 and the three Toyotas are the only ones affected.
Those models could regain their recommendations if they are retested in the small-overlap test and achieve better scores. Manufacturers take these tests very seriously and are constantly working to improve the safety of the vehicles.