I thought I figured out the grading method for these IIHS Small Overlap tests.
The A-pillar of course needing to stay strong so the bulkhead (firewall) would not shift causing the steering column (airbag) to shift out of the way of the driver. I've seen the dummy's head on some videos completely miss the airbag because of this shift and smack the dash where the door meets.
Still, in some videos, mostly 2012 German cars, the A-pillar would still flex somewhat but the dummy's head did land safely in the steering wheel squib. Yet, they scored a poor rating.
Obviously we cant see any accelerator, G force, and other sensor data. I just kinda figured that watching all these small overlap videos and trying to guess the rating was interesting trying to determine what I see with the actual score. I was close but some cars like this 2014 Scion TC abouv would of defiantly got a poor rating seeing the cabin shift and the dummy's head smack the dash, but I was wrong. Cars that looked relatively ok did bad.
All in all im glad this test is out. It really makes sense because its something most idiot drivers on the road tend to do and try to swerve away from danger unsuccessfully. Most modern vehicles can easily pass the standard front end crash test. I really do believe that this small overlap test is a more likely crash scenario and point of impact given most driver's reactions.
Just hope it doesn't ruin car design too much on everyday cars.
videos courtesy of IIHS