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Crash Test Results Reflect Improvements, Downgrades for Popular Vehicle Models

By: Jeff Youngs, 1/23/2014
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have posted crash-test results for two popular vehicle models, the 2014 Toyota Prius and the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta. The results show both improvements and downgrades, compared with the ratings given to the 2013 models.

Toyota says it made structural changes to ensure that the Prius improved its performance in the IIHS small overlap frontal-impact test. The 2014 Prius is rated as a "Top Safety Pick" by the IIHS. When equipped with the available pre-collision system offered on the most expensive version of the car, it meets "Top Safety Pick+" standards. The IIHS is clear, however, that these ratings apply only to Prius models built after November 2013.

In crash tests conducted by the NHTSA, the 2014 Prius receives 4 stars (out of 5 stars) in overall crash protection. Notably, the 2013 Prius received 5 stars in overall crash protection from the NHTSA.

In crash tests conducted by the IIHS, the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta receives a rating of  "Good"--the Institute's highest--in all assessments except for the small overlap frontal-impact test, for which it receives a rating of "Marginal." The 2013 Jetta was named a "Top Safety Pick" by the IIHS; however, the 2014 Jetta does not receive the same designation due to increased scoring requirements.

The 2014 Jetta receives 5 stars for overall protection and 5 stars in side-impact driver protection in crash testing conducted by the NHTSA. The 2013 Jetta received 4 stars in overall crash testing by the NHTSA and 4 stars for side-impact driver protection.

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