ARLINGTON, Virginia — The all-new 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid earned the 2016 Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety after "acing the challenging small overlap front test," the Institute said.
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.
"The previous generation of the Prius had good ratings in four of the five crashworthiness tests, but rated only acceptable for small overlap protection," the Institute said in a statement. "The earlier model's structure didn't hold up well in the test."
The optional front-crash prevention system on the hybrid improved to earn a "superior" rating.
"The optional front-crash prevention system has improved over the advanced-rated system available on the previous model," the Institute said.
Every 2016 Prius comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag and a passenger seat cushion airbag. A rearview camera also comes standard.
Blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert comes standard on the Prius Four and Four Touring. The Toyota Safety Sense package includes full-speed adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning and intervention. It's standard on the Prius Three Touring and Four Touring and optional on the Three and Four.
The Safety Connect system that can be added to the Prius Four and Four Touring is subscription-based (with a one-year free trial) and includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and one-touch access to roadside and emergency assistance.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not rated the 2016 Prius.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers should note that the 2016 Volt has not been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 2016 Nissan Leaf did not win a Top Safety Pick+ award.