Government Awards Only 4 Stars to Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

By · July 31, 2012

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Shortly after launching in the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid through its official set of crash tests. The results show that the Prius Plug-in Hybrid managed an overall rating of only four stars. While that seems decent, the standard Prius liftback is five-star rated by the NHTSA.

Why the less-than-stellar rating? The Prius Plug-in scored five stars in the side-impact crash test, but only managed to get four stars in frontal crash and rollover, while the standard Prius liftback aced all tests with five stars.

"The disparity in ratings for what appear to be vehicles with identical unibody structures may be attributed to the additional weight carried by the Plug-in model, and how that weight influenced the methodology of the NHTSA test," said Toyota, in a company statement. "The increased mass of the Prius Plug-in model helps the vehicle carry additional energy into the barriers that are part of NHTSA tests."

Toyota pointed out that all of the occupant seating positions of the Plug-in model receive the same safety ratings as the regular Prius model.

We assume that Toyota will address the shortcoming in future releases of the vehicle, to engineer a five-star safety rating. But the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid missed the mark. It's unknown if one star less in the ratings will affect sales.

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