Toyota is one of the most highly rated automakers overall, with a lot of attention given to the safety of its vehicles. In 2017, nine of Toyota’s models were named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). With that said, a lot goes into ensuring that all Toyotas are safe and road-ready, and crash testing is one of the key methods for determining whether or not a particular model can withstand certain specific impacts.
The organizations conducting these tests are the nonprofit IIHS, which is funded by insurance companies, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is run by the federal government. All of the ratings generated by these two entities are available to the public. Below, you’ll find details about crash testing and how these vehicles are graded, and we’ll also take a look at Toyota’s exceptional and award-winning Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) system of active safety technologies.
IIHS Crash Test Safety
The IIHS tests individual vehicle models around the time of their release to determine how they’ll respond in various simulated collisions. Using data from the results, they set a rating that corresponds to the degree of safety for the occupants. Aspects of the vehicle that are tested are scored as either poor, marginal, acceptable, or good.
Let’s look at the 2019 Toyota Corolla for reference. The IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick for the model year, meaning it’s one of the safest vehicles you can buy. When it was evaluated for crashworthiness, the ’19 Corolla was rated “good” in all categories. These include factors like roof strength and the effectiveness of the head restraints and seats, structure and safety cage, and driver restraints and dummy kinematics. For a more in-depth analysis, you can go to the IIHS website and look at a specific vehicle to see how it fares when it comes to safety.
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating
The NHTSA is slightly different from the IIHS in that uses a star-based grading system. As an example, it awarded the 2019 Toyota Camry with a five-star safety rating, the highest distinction the organization has. This rating system allows consumers to compare the safety of vehicles in their searches. Like the IIHS, the NHTSA conducts crash-test safety demonstrations, but they also post recall information when specific vehicles are found to be defective in some way. It’s important that any driver be aware of recalls on the vehicle that they drive, because these defects could jeopardize the safety of that vehicle’s occupants and others around them. The NHTSA also posts complaints from consumers as another resource for comparing vehicles.
Active Safety Features
On most new Toyotas, the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) bundle of active safety features comes standard on all model grades. That’s a wonderful thing, since it’s more common in the auto industry for these advanced features to be saved for higher trims than the base. TSS is a desirable aid because it increases the driver’s awareness of obstacles and potentially dangerous situations, with the goal of alerting them in time to avoid a collision or even automating steering and braking so that the vehicle “acts” by itself to mitigate the situation. Studies have shown the package’s effectiveness in various common types of collisions. The basic features of TSS include pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.