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Safety of the Prius

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Main Forum' started by grx1500, Apr 5, 2010.

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  1. grx1500

    grx1500 New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    So as of right now I'm seriously considering the Prius. However, a few thoughts came to my mind as this is my first "hatchback" type vehicle.
    I'm hoping those with collision experience, especially rear-end collisions, could chime in and be of help.

    Upon looking at the car, it seems as if though there is very little room between the rear/trunk and the rear passenger seats. In the event of rear-end collision, is there adequate protection? Anyone with experience? I'm just concerned as to how well my kids and any passengers back there would fair if god forbid we were to be rear-ended.

    Don't mean to be picky, but is there a particular reason as to why NHSTA gave the car 4 out of 5 for some aspects as opposed to the usual 5 stars toyota earns in all categories?

    If one were to consider the Camry, would there be a substantial difference in crashworthiness both frontal and rear between the two?

    Just looking for the safest car possible!

    Thanks,
    Gina
  2. Carnutt

    Carnutt Member

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    Probably an armored Hummer or Grand Marquis ;).
  3. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    I believe the 4 out of 5 rating was related to headrests. While good, the headrests are not the very best you can get.

    The Prius is a very safe car. Survivability is more about design than size and space. Many SUVs are shockingly dangerous in accidents. A solid frame and high center of gravity mean that the occupents of SUVs often bear the burden of an impact. In the Prius, the crumple zones and airbags take it instead.

    There are several photos on this site showing the aftermath of major Prius accidents. The Prius always look horribly crumpled, until you look carefully and notice that the passenger compartments are intact. The rest of the car absorbs the energy.

    Tom
  5. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    the spare tire is under the trunk as a shock absorber... so yeah, the car'll have to flatten that in order to get to your passengers.
  6. gfshay

    gfshay New Member

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    I would never by a Prius at this stage of the game until they get all this figured out. You are just asking for trouble.
  7. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Get all what figured out? Can you be specific with your concerns?

    Tom
  8. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    What is "all this"? If you're talking about going from 4 to 5 stars don't count on it until the next generation. Many (most?) cars don't have 5 on all ratings, though.
  9. Tech_Guy

    Tech_Guy Class Clown

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    With a philosophy like that, you would never buy anything.

    With over a million Prius automobiles on the road, "they have got it all this figured out".

    At this point, the real question is - Are you a safe (defensive) driver?

    Keith
  10. gfshay

    gfshay New Member

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    What I am talking about is all the priuses 2004-2006 with sudden red triangle do not drive messages. Most less than 80K miles and nd new computr parts. Very expensive computer parts no longer under warranty. Searc h on forums and you will see. ECU has been replaced/update on 2020 but no earlier ones. Also can find same problem on NHTSA site. I loved the car until it started falling apart at 65000 miles watre pump and now new computer
  11. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    That sucks. I'll check into it...
  12. pakitt

    pakitt Active Member

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    You probably don't care, but the Prius got 5 star ratings at NCAP, the EU based safety test board. Like most if not all Toyotas. (Euro NCAP - For safer cars | Toyota Prius).
    Granted they don't test, as far as I can see, rear impact... :rolleyes:

    As written above, correctly, it has more to do on how a car absorbs and distributes the impact, than anything else.

    EU is full of cars that have a very short back, but people usually die because they drive too fast, do not pay attention, are drunk, get out of the road, etc. and not because they have been rear ended...
    But if you have concerns about how short the back is, I do understand; a sedan would be psychologically better (but not necessarily better in terms of rear-end crash); try to imagine the distance between the end of the rear seats of the Prius and the end of the hatch and compare that to a "normal" sedan of any other manufacturer - it might well be that the distance is very similar - it looks short, in fact it isn't really.
    For a short back, excellent for rear-end collisions, an iQ, or an Aygo would be perfect :). I don't think myself those models are that safe, but NCAP gives the iQ 5 stars.
  13. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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    grx1500
    I would make the overall Prius low fatality rate, as you see mentioned in Jimbo's note, the place to start. It is a safe car.
    Even with all the criticisms of Toyota, you don't have a lot of rear end complaints, suggesting that it really is no more dangerous than any other car. I would therefore believe that they have the crumple zones figured out pretty well, so that folks in the back seat don't get crushed by the traction battery, etc.
    While it is possible that some unintended accelleration incidents have to do with either the hardware electronics or the software, I don't know that you eliminate those possibilities with any other new cars. It doesn't increase the risk to near the level of the "average" car anyway.
    If you ask me, the brake problem you heard so much about is solved.

    The only thing I would say about safety is do extended test driving, so you can be satisfied you can see enough out of the small rear window, plus your mirrors. I think that's the worst problem.
  14. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    Most rear enders are at low speeds, with one car stopped or moving slowly forward. Most of the injuries are whiplash related. These are almost always due only to the design and adjustment of the seat back and head restraint. The 2010 Prius received the top "Good" score from the IIHS in terms of seat and head restraint design for rear impacts (it's not an actual crash test). If you have them adjusted correctly, you will be quite safe.

    Severe rear enders are only about 5-10% of all crashes involving a fatality. Intrusion is probably only a concern if you are hit by a huge SUV or truck that is moving fast and rides above or over the crumple zone. There is also a risk that the seat back could fail, but there is no test for seatback strength. I'd be far more worried about frontal and side impacts, personally.



    Good question. The Prius did pretty well in the NHTSA sub scores, but just missed 5-star ratings in a couple categories. Toyota should have done better on a new model, in my opinion. Still, 4-stars is respectable.



    I believe the Camry is somewhat safer all around, though not by a great amount. I'd consider the difference in rear impacts to be the least meaningful.

    This may be of interest to you-

    2010 Toyota Prius Review: Kids and Safety




    The 4 star ratings were for frontal and side impacts.




    I completely agree. Overall, I find the visibility to be the weak point of safety on the Prius. It's not that bad, but it's certainly not what I consider good, either. You do get used to it, but there are some real blind spots.
  15. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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  16. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    InformedforLife is a great tool. It's the only way to compare vehicles of all weights and classes in a comprehensive manner, based only on actual crash tests, statistics, data and research. It does have one flaw: when a test result is missing, they substitute an "average" result for the class. This can allow a vehicle to have a result that is higher or lower than the actual final score will be once the missing result is entered. Sometimes it can take a while for new results to be entered. They also give a full explanation of their methodology and a calculator that allows you to enter results manually.
  17. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I think it also only shows basically your odds if you get in an accident but not your likelihood to get in one, right? Also, if you have a vehicle with 100 and a vehicle with 90 you might think the 90 is safer but if the 100 is a huge damned truck it's going to smoke the 90 every time in a car vs car accident against the 90.

    I mean, for example I'm trying to compare the Prius to somebody in a van and overall chances of me living/being safe, which is in the end what matters. The prius scores well in this but doesn't include things like the van may be rear wheel drive, so presumably its odds of a crash in winter increase. But then this also doesn't count that if you're in that huge van you'll do better than one in a prius if you hit each other.

    I suppose I'm looking for a single score not rating the vehicle in a crash but overall chances of death. I recall seeing those odds in another thread and the Prius does very well, but again that's against other cars in its class. Is there truly a safest car on the road? Probably if one was found people who keep getting in crashes would buy it and it wouldn't be anymore :)
  18. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    Yeah, there's no real way to objectively compare things like handling, visibility and other accident avoidance issues. Some of those factors will change with the driver.

    Informedforlife does take weight into account, as it is a factor but primarily in frontal crashes and it tapers off after a point. Beyond the inclusion of stability control in their ratings, it's more to do with crashworthiness than crash avoidance.

    While a large, truck-based vehicle may win vs. a much smaller and lighter vehicle, they don't tend to fare so well vs. a wall, pole, similar type of vehicle or in single vehicle crashes. Stiff frames tend to transfer more energy to the occupants...

    Everything is a tradeoff. I think if you avoid models with really low scores like a 3-star or "Marginal" result and pass on any that seem to be mediocre in terms of handling, braking, etc, then you should be reasonably safe if you're a decent driver;-)
  19. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    My MPV gets 136 :O
  20. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    OK now it's understandable. Sorry for your bad luck.

    I on the other hand am at 149,000 miles with nary a blip, lurch, hiccup or snafu in 4-1/2 yrs. But because I normally buy under lucky stars I don't expect any issues either. However since it's given me 150,000 miles without problems then I'll just fix whatever comes up and continue on for another 150,000 miles.

    Next non-issue.
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