Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius has added class-leading safety to its exceptional qualities with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. The Prius was the first hybrid power car to undergo the stringent crash testing programme and it passed with flying colours: its score of 34 points for passenger protection matched the highest score yet achieved in its class.

Prius also led the way in the newly-introduced Child Protection Rating, setting a new high score for any vehicle with 43 points. This was achieved thanks to the standard provision of the triple-anchor CRS (Child Restraint System) ISOFIX system and Toyota’s intelligent child seat design.

The exceptional performance of the Prius reflects Toyota’s "total safety" approach to the development of its new cars and follows the class-leading five-star ratings achieved by both the Toyota Avensis and Corolla Verso.

The Prius’s high level of standard safety equipment includes eight airbags, a dual-stage seatbelt warning system which is unique to Toyota vehicles and a knee protection panel. Even the fascia-mounted starting button plays a part, as it does away with the ignition key cylinder on the underside of the steering column, which can cause injuries to the driver’s legs in the event of a collision.

Besides being a strong performer in the field of passive safety, the Prius is equipped with active safety features not to be found in any other car on the market. This unique combination puts Prius at the top of the D-segment in terms of overall safety.

Smart Engineering Solutions

From a very early development stage, huge numbers of computerised crash simulations were conducted to help develop a bodyshell which offers the best balance between low weight and crash protection.

To achieve this all-important balance, around 45 per cent of the Prius’s bodyshell is constructed from high-strength steel. Combining the use of ultra-high-strength steel in key areas such as the B pillars with a hot-stamping manufacturing process has rendered the metal 2.5 times stronger than conventional high-strength steel – a world motor industry first.

To confirm the data from the crash test simulations, the Prius was subjected to a programme of 125 real crash tests, substantially more than are usually conducted in the development of a new model.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 26/06/04 Author : Melanie Carter

Toyota Prius News

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