Now shoppers considering the lightest, smallest Prius—and the one with an astounding, best-in-class 53-mpg city rating—the 2012 Toyota Prius C, can have a little more peace of mind. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has named this five-door subcompact hatchback a Top Safety Pick for 2012—with top 'good' results in each of the major crash-test categories.
The Prius C earns top 'good' ratings in all areas of testing except for the 'structure/safety cage' area of the side impact test and the 'head/neck' region of the frontal offset test—indicating that the force loads were a little higher in some respects yet still excellent in most measurements. It also manages an impressive 5.28 times its weight in the IIHS roof strength test—relating to a lower chance of head injury in a rollover crash.
As of yet, the Prius C hasn't been rated by the federal government. But in federal NCAP tests, other Toyota Prius family have a good record, with the 2012 Prius earning a five-star overall rating.
After a couple of drives of the Prius C, we like what we see—especially considering the bargain $19,710 base price of the 2012 model. You're already unlikely to find one for that price; and now that the Prius C is looking like an especially safe pick as well, we bet the Prius C will continue being a hot item among frugal and green shoppers for the foreseeable future.