IIHS Names 2015 Toyota Prius c Top Safety Pick

15_Toyota_Prius_c_Top_Safety_Pick.jpg 2015 Toyota Prius c; | IIHS image

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced a big comeback for Toyota’s littlest hybrid, the revised-for-2015 Prius c. It had languished in recent years with a poor rating in the small front overlap test, but for 2015 earned an acceptable score in the test, boosting its overall rating to Top Safety Pick.

Despite receiving a good rating in all other test areas, including moderate overlap, front, side, head restraints and roof strength, its previous poor rating in the small front overlap test precluded it from Top Safety Pick status.

Related: 2015 Toyota Prius c Review

“To improve overlap protection, Toyota made structural improvements to the front end and occupant compartment of 2015 Prius c models built after May,” IIHS said in a statement. “The side curtain airbags also were lengthened.”

The result during testing was a reasonably maintained driver space. IIHS noted, however, that the performance of the vehicle’s airbags “wasn’t ideal,” as the crash dummy’s head barely made contact with the front airbag before sliding off the left side. Also, the seat belt allowed too much forward movement of the dummy’s head and torso, resulting in its head striking the instrument panel, while the driver seat also tipped forward and toward the B-pillar.

“Measures taken from the dummy indicate that injuries to the left lower leg would be possible in a crash of this severity,” IIHS stated. “The risk of other significant injuries is low.”

To earn the institute’s highest rating, Top Safety Pick Plus, a vehicle must have a front crash prevention system. The Prius c has not yet been eligible for this designation. The five-seat 2015 Prius c starts at $20,375, including an $835 destination charge; it gets a 50-mpg combined EPA fuel economy rating from its 73-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas-electric hybrid powertrain, the best mileage of any car without a plug.

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