The Toyota Prius is unique in the automobile market, the first and most-successful hybrid electric vehicle, as well as the best-selling hybrid in the world.
The Toyota Prius has been delivering excellent fuel economy, thanks to its award-winning Toyota Synergy Drive, and has continued to improve on it. At the same time, it is well-equipped to keep its occupants safe in the event of a crash. The Prius’ safety features include multiple standard airbags, side-collision strengthening members, and a number of electronic stability programs.
The last time a Toyota Prius was tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a 2011 model, it earned a Five-Star Overall Rating. In crash testing, it earned four stars in frontal and rollover categories, and five stars for side crash safety. The 2011 NHTSA Crash Test Ratings were applied to all Toyota Prius from 2011 through 2013, but retesting with a 2014 model required a slight adjustment to the overall score.
The NHTSA granted the 2014 Toyota Prius, again, four stars in frontal and rollover crashes, as well as five stars in side impact safety, but the overall score dropped to four stars. The difference between the two vehicles is negligible, but the crash test data, the numbers that is, doesn’t lie. The four star frontal crash rating doesn’t reflect the slight drop in safety performance. Actually, what the four-star frontal crash rating doesn’t reflect is the change in safety requirements and crash testing standards.
The Toyota Prius hasn’t changed in about five years, while the NHTSA’s standards have, which points out one really amazing fact about the car. It has been, for all this time, one of the safest vehicles you can occupy in case of an accident, and it still is. One needs to keep this kind of thing in perspective, that a one-star drop in the NHTSA Safety Rating doesn’t actually reflect that the vehicle has become less-safe in the last year. For example, a 2004 Toyota Prius, with a Five-Star Safety Rating, couldn’t be expected to get the same safety rating as a test performed on the 2014 Toyota Prius, ten years later.
Image © NHTSA