Statistics show that when Americans are looking for a midsize family car, they usually end up with a Toyota Camry. In
white. In the case of hybrids, the same rules apply to the Prius V, which came out as a completely new model this year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety now says you might want to think twice, giving both the Camry and Prius V "Poor" ratings in a new test.
The main issue the IIHS has with both cars is overlap protection. Modern safety cages are built to withstand head-on collisions and moderate overlap frontal crashes, but since the main crush-zone structures are concentrated in the middle 50 percent of the front end, other structures have to be built in in order to protect the occupants from these front-side impacts. In these cases, crash energy usually hits directly the wheel, suspension system and firewall, contributing to even more intrusion in the occupant compartment and resulting in serious leg and foot injuries.
How do these two new Toyotas live up to the challenge? Not well, as you can see in this test. Here's what the IIHS had to say:
In the Camry, the force of the impact shoved the front wheel back into the footwell, bending the windshield pillar and pushing the parking brake pedal and the left outer edge of the instrument panel rearward into the driver's survival space. Likewise, there was significant intrusion in the Prius v, along with high forces on the dummy's legs and feet. The Prius v is the only car in the midsize test group to earn a poor rating for hip and thigh protection.
The Japanese also had to scratch their heads in Europe, where their Aygo supermini (along with its twins the Citroën C1 and Peugeot 107) scored only three starts on the latest Euro NCAP safety tests. Toyota and PSA reacted to the results by making side airbags, stability control and ISOFIX and top-tether in rear outboard seats standard from July 2013 in all European countries, but Euro NCAP reminded everyone that the three star score was achieved with this equipment already installed in the test cars.
Back to the drawing board in Toyota City.