New Prius gets full marks for safety

Taking a brand new Prius and driving it head on into a block of aluminium doesn’t sound like a bright idea, but just such a smash has helped show that Toyota’s new full hybrid is among the safest cars on the road today.

This week we heard that Prius has been awarded a top five-star rating for all round safety from Euro NCAP, the organisation that sets the industry benchmark with its independent crash test programme.

The car’s design, robust structure and its fitted-as-standard array of airbags, seatbelts and handling and braking systems deliver excellent protection for adults and children on board, and reduce the risk of injuries to other road users. Performance is not compromised by the presence of the full hybrid system.

This year the test requirements have been made much tougher, but Toyota remains ahead of the game in building one of the safest cars you can buy. That’s especially true in the way it is designed to protect pedestrians from being hurt – an issue which Euro NCAP has repeatedly criticised car makers for neglecting.

With careful design of the bonnet and other frontal parts of the car, Toyota has achieved not only today’s five-star rating, but also the much higher level of pedestrian protection performance that will be required to meet the standard from 2012.

Commenting on the results, Euro NCAP’s General Secretary Dr Michiel van Ratingen said: “(Toyota) is giving us a glimpse of the cars of the future that consider the natural and social environment in its entirety.”

All the test data, analysis and video of Prius undergoing the crash test can be found on the Euro NCAP web site at www.euroncap.com.

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