The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety sent 11 small cars and crossovers through the new, more challenging side crash test. Two them received Good scores, five were Acceptable, and four earned a Poor rating – the lowest possible from the agency.

The table below shows the results:

Vehicle Score In New Side-Impact Test
2023 Mazda 3 Hatchback Good
2023 Mazda 3 Sedan Good
2022 Honda Civic Hatchback Acceptable
2022 Honda Civic Sedan Acceptable
2022 Nissan Sentra Acceptable
2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Acceptable
2022 Toyota Corolla Sedan Acceptable
2022 Kia Forte Poor
2022-23 Subaru Crosstrek Poor
2022-23 Subaru Impreza Sedan Poor
2022-23 Subaru Impreza Wagon Poor

The modified side crash test has a 4,200-pound barrier striking a vehicle at 37 miles per hour. The previous version weighed 3,300 pounds and moved 31 mph. The IIHS changed things after it found that nearly a quarter of fatalities in side-impact crashes occurred in more severe collisions than the original evaluation.

To understand how much more challenging the new test is, it's worth noting that all of these vehicles would earn a Good rating in the original evaluation.

"Smaller, lower vehicles are at a disadvantage when struck by the new test barrier, which is a more realistic representation of the front end of a typical modern SUV than our old barrier. Clearly, some manufacturers have already figured out how to provide sufficient protection in a crash like this even for occupants of small cars," said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller.

In 2023, a Good or Acceptable score in the more-stringent side-impact crash is necessary to earn the IIHS' Top Safety Pick award. A Good rating is among the Top Safety Pick+ requirements.

In August 2022, the IIHS put seven midsize cars and crossovers through this test. The Subaru Outback was the only one with a Good rating. Two models received Acceptable scores. One was Marginal, and three were Poor.

In October 2022, the agency evaluated the Ford Mustang Mach-E in the new side-impact test. It received a Good rating because sensors showed a low risk of injury to the dummy.

The IIHS is making its awards harder to earn in 2023. In addition to the more stringent side-impact test, there's a new nighttime pedestrian crash prevention test and a tweak to how the agency rates headlights.

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