Toyota has done it again.
Two of the Japanese automaker's products -- the Lexus ES, a luxury midsize car, and the Scion iA, a new minicar -- have won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) TOP SAFETY PICK+ award.
Toyota now has 10 vehicles that qualify for the Institute's top award.
The Lexus ES
The 2016 ES -- including both the ES 350 and the hybrid ES 300h -- was modified for improved protection in small overlap front crashes. Changes were made to the front structure, A-pillar and roof rail, door hinge pillar, and door sill.
The car's performance in the small overlap test earned it a good rating. According to IIHS, the driver space was maintained very well with maximum intrusion of four inches at the parking brake pedal.
In addition, the dummy's movement was well-controlled and the front and side curtain airbags worked well together to protect the head. Measures taken from the dummy showed injuries to the right lower leg would be possible in a crash of this severity.
Improvements also were made to the vehicle's optional front crash prevention system, which went from an advanced to a superior rating. The car avoided a collision in track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph. It also has a forward collision warning component that meets criteria set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Scion IA
The new iA also earned a good small overlap rating. The driver space was maintained very well, with maximum intrusion of two inches at the parking brake pedal, door hinge pillar, and instrument panel. As with the Lexus, the dummy's movement was well-controlled and the airbags worked well to protect the head. Measures taken from the dummy indicated a low risk of significant injuries in a crash of this severity.
The minicar has a standard low-speed front crash prevention system that earned an advanced rating. The iA avoided a collision in the 12 mph track test. The system doesn't operate at higher speeds or include a warning feature.
Although many vehicles now have front crash prevention as an option, it is still relatively rare to have the technology standard and unprecedented for a vehicle as inexpensive as the iA.
Both the ES and the iA earn good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK, vehicles must earn good ratings in those tests, plus a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap test.
For TOP SAFETY PICK+, vehicles also need an available front crash system with an advanced or superior rating.