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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Top Safety Pick+
'Good,' frontal, side, and rear (seat) categories; 'good,' roof strength; 'acceptable,' small overlap frontal
Four stars overall; four stars frontal; five stars side
The 2014 Toyota Prius continues to receive good safety ratings, including a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). On that organization's crash tests, it received the top rating of "Good" for moderate-overlap front crash, side crash, roof strength, and seats and head restraints (formerly "rear crash"). And it's received an 'Acceptable' rating in the new IIHS small overlap category.
From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Prius gets a mix of four- and five-star results, but a five-star overall rating. Neither agency specifically rates outward vision, but while the front end drops away sharply, rear vision is adequate if not laudable. New drivers will have to get used to the horizontal line that appears in the rear-view mirror due to the two-pane rear window--which is why we recommend opting for the available rearview camera.
Like most Toyotas, the Prius comes with a strong body structure and a full set of safety features that were advanced when it was launched in 2010 and remain competitive five years later. Those include seven airbags (the seventh is a driver's knee bag), along with the now-standard stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
The Prius hybrid offers quite a number of optional electronic safety systems, more even than you may find on other compact and mid-size volume cars. They include radar-based adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, and the Toyota "Safety Connect" system that alerts emergency responders in the event of an accident that triggers one or more airbags. Toyota's Intelligent Parking Assist system steers the car into a parallel-parking space, with the system automatically steering the car while the driver provides the acceleration and braking. Ford's similar system is somewhat better, but the Toyota system remains a rarity on a volume car and a useful aid for nervous city drivers regardless.
The 2014 Toyota Prius earns top safety ratings and offers optional electronic safety features that keep it up to date.