Toyota has skimped on standard safety features in some of its small cars in recent years, but the Prius comes with most features that shoppers will expect—side airbags, full-length side-curtain bags, and anti-lock brakes. Electronic stability control is optional on most Prius models, but in a glaring omission, it's not available on the new low-priced base model.
TheCarConnection.com research shows that in independent crash tests, the 2009 Toyota Prius performs admirably, especially for a car of its size. The body holds up well, receiving four stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for front impacts and four- and five-star ratings for side impacts. The 2009 Toyota Prius also scores four out of five stars in NHTSA's rollover test. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Toyota Prius receives the highest rating of "good' in both frontal offset and side-impact tests.
On the road, Toyota Prius drivers will appreciate what Edmunds calls the Prius' "excellent visibility." While running errands around town, the "available rearview camera [makes] it easy to park and maneuver through traffic," says Edmunds. However, some reviewers disagree, with ConsumerGuide warning that "front and rear roof pillars impede visibility to some angles," and Cars.com adding that "a solid bar across the back glass impairs rearward visibility" on Toyota's 2009 Prius.
Edmunds points out that "every 2009 Toyota Prius comes standard with antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags." MotherProof also appreciates the two child seat LATCH connectors and the "hands-free operation" of the Toyota Prius' navigation system.