ARLINGTON, Virginia — The 2015 Toyota Prius C subcompact hybrid hatchback earned the Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety following structural improvements to the front end and occupant compartment.
The car's side curtain airbags were also lengthened.
The rating applies to 2015 Prius C models built after May.
Previously, the 2015 Prius C earned a "poor" rating in the Institute's small overlap front crash test. The structural improvements boosted the rating in that category to "acceptable," the minimum rating required to get a Top Safety Pick award. The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole.
"When IIHS put the modified minicar through the small overlap test, the driver space was maintained reasonably well," the Institute said in a statement.
But it noted: "The performance of the vehicle's safety belts and airbags wasn't ideal."
The safety belt allowed the dummy's head and torso to move too far forward and the head hit the instrument panel. The dummy's head "barely contacted" the frontal airbag before sliding off to the left side, according to the evaluation.
The revised Prius C earned "good" ratings in all other Institute crash tests. It has no optional front crash prevention system, so it is not eligible for the highest Top Safety Pick+ award.
Edmunds says: Toyota acted quickly to improve the crashworthiness of the Prius C after unimpressive initial IIHS crash ratings.