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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
The 2013 Toyota Prius--like most Toyotas--comes with a strong body structure and a full set of safety features. It's received respectable safety ratings, including a Top Safety Pick nod from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with Good ratings in all its test categories. It receives a mix of four- and five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with a five-star overall rating, under the new and more stringent crash-test procedures it adopted in 2011.
The 2013 Prius comes with seven airbags (the seventh is a driver's knee bag), along with the usual suite of standard electronic safety systems. Those include stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, and the recently mandated tire-pressure monitors
Rear vision is decent if not spectacular in the 2013 Prius, especially once drivers get used to the horizontal line that appears in the rear-view mirror due to the two-part rear window--an extra piece of visual information in what ought to require no more than a quick glance. The available rear-view camera is a desirable option.
Optional safety equipment includes a lane-departure warning system, radar-based adaptive cruise control, and the Toyota "Safety Connect" system. Among other functions, the Safety Connect software automatically alerts emergency responders in the event of a crash. While newer systems from Ford are rated somewhat better, Toyota offers its own Intelligent Parking Assist, which steers the car into a parallel-parking space. In this case, the driver provides the acceleration and braking while the software steers the car automatically.
The 2013 Toyota Prius continues to score well on safety measures, with optional features that add to its credibility.