Toyota received a two-month extension to make changes to its popular RAV4 crossover before the vehicle underwent an important new safety test. The extra time didn't help.

The vehicle received the worst-possible grade of "poor" on the new small-front overlap test administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety this week. Other small SUVs received their grades in May.

In skewering the RAV4, the IIHS noted that the driver's space was "seriously compromised" by intruding structure and that the crash-test dummy's foot was trapped by crushed and buckled sheet metal. The safety organization also noted the steering column moved more than seven inches to the right, "barely" giving the dummy's head contact with the front airbag.

If there's any consolation for Toyota, 11 of its 13 competitors in the hotly contested crossover segment received marginal and poor ratings in May, including a "poor" rating for the best-selling Ford Escape. Only the Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander Sports earned "good" and "acceptable" ratings, respectively, in the test.

"Most manufacturers are going to need to make significant changes to their vehicles in order to improve protection in these kinds of serious frontal crashes," said IIHS president Adrian Lund.

"Most manufacturers are going to need to make significant changes to their vehicles in order to improve protection in these kinds of serious frontal crashes," said IIHS president Adrian Lund.

Implemented this year, the new test mimics one of the most common crashes on American roads, in which the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or stationary object, like a tree. IIHS says 25 percent of serious traffic injuries are sustained in this type of accident. In the test, a quarter of a vehicle's front end strikes a five-foot barrier at 40 miles per hour.

The RAV4 earned "good" scores in front, side, rear and rollover testing, the four other crash tests the IIHS conducts.

The IIHS released results for the other small SUVs in May, but delayed testing the RAV4 because it knew changes were afoot. If changes are imminent, the IIHS says it delays testing because it doesn't want its ratings to become obsolete. The delay also gives automakers an incentive to improve the safety of their vehicles, IIHS said in a written statement.

"It's encouraging to see both insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the automakers working even harder to protect drivers and passengers," said Karl Brauer, senior director of insights for Kelley Blue Book. "As more accident data comes in, it uncovers which types of vehicle crashes are the more dangerous, allowing IIHS to create more effective tests that simulate real-world crashes. This inevitably requires automakers to up their game in vehicle design and safety technology."

In a statement, Toyota said that it "strives to build vehicles of the highest quality and safety," and noted the RAV4 remained an IIHS Top Safety Pick, which is one rung below the organization's highest designation of "Top Safety Pick Plus."

Here's how the other small cars in the crossover category fared:



Pete Bigelow is an associate editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached at peter.bigelow@teamaol.com and followed @PeterCBigelow.