Changes to Toyota Prius C Help it Take Home IIHS Top Safety Pick Award
Changes to the Toyota Prius c improved its performance in a key crash test, making it eligible for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) list of Top Safety Pick winners.
Toyota made structural improvements to the front end and occupant compartments and lengthened the side airbags after the hybrid received poor marks on the small overlap front crash test. The changes are on 2015 Prius c models built after May.
The minicar is a scaled-down version of Toyota's popular hybrid.
Results in the small overlap test improved, but only bumped the car up to a rating of acceptable. Starting in 2016, cars will need to score a Good rating in order to take home top honors. Added in 2013 and proving difficult for quite a number of models, the small overlap test measures the risk of injury in a crash in which the front corner of a car hits a fixed object at 40mph.
The structural improvements allowed less intrusion of the car into the occupant compartment, but the performance of the vehicle's safety belts and airbags wasn't ideal. IIHS says that the dummy's head barely contacted the front airbag before sliding off and eventually hitting the instrument panel. The driver's seat also tipped forward.
In a real life crash, injuries to the lower left leg would be possible, but the risk of other significant injuries is low.
The Prius was not eligible for a Top Safety Pick+ award because it lacks a front crash prevention system.