The Prius is the first hybrid car to be tested by Euro NCAP. It achieved five stars following modification to the driver’s knee impact area.
The car has a very strong and stable passenger safety cage. The restraint systems worked well and kept the driver’s chest and head away from the steering wheel.
Side impact protection was impressive, too, while the recommended child restraints performed very well. But protection for pedestrians was only average.
The Prius's body proved to be very stong after the impact, showing only minimal distortion around the sill and screen pillar and minor intrusion into the footwell. The restraint systems include a dual stage tethered airbag for the driver and a single stage nontethered airbag for the passenger. These combine with belts fitted with pre-tensioners and load limiters. These worked well although the loads acting on the driver’s chest was a little high.
However, the driver's knees risked injury from contact with the steering column and hard points beneath the fascia.
The car’s performance was very impressive. The seat-mounted thorax airbag and the head curtain airbags worked efficiently; the latter also protected rear occupants.
The restraint used by the 3 year old was a forward facing Toyotabranded Britax Romer Duo, which was fitted using the ISOFix anchorages and a top tether.
The 18 month old child used a rear facing Toyota-branded Britax Romer BabySafe, fitted to the car using the adult belt.
The children’s heads and chests were well protected throughout.
There was a pictogram on the end of the fascia (passenger’s side) and a permanent text label on both sides of the passenger’s sun visor warning of the danger of fitting a rear facing child restraint opposite an active airbag.
The bonnet was fairly compliant where an adult’s and child’s head would most likely strike but the wings were ‘unfriendly’. The bumper and the bonnet’s leading edge offered no protection.