Receiving a 'Recommended' rating from the journalists at Consumer Reports isn't the only automotive accolade to aim for, but it's certainly one of the biggest.
Losing that Recommended rating is therefore something to be avoided. It's also something the Toyota Prius V wagon has failed to avoid following the magazine's most recent assessment.
Due to its poor small overlap frontal crash test performance in the recent round of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, the Prius V (as well as the Toyota Camry, RAV4 and ageing Audi A4) has lost that Consumer Reports seal of approval.
The IIHS crash test showed the Prius V had "significant intrusion" into the driver's footwell in the small overlap crash test--designed to replicate a head-on collision where vehicles only just connect at each corner--while the side airbag failed to deploy in time.
As a result, it missed out on the Institute's "Top Safety Pick Plus" rating, awarded to cars that score highest in each of the Institute's tests. The Camry too fared badly in the test, though both cars were still awarded a Top Safety Pick rating overall, thanks to good performances in other tests.
It's important to note that the Prius V hasn't suddenly become "less safe"--but outlets such as Consumer Reports must take into account the latest developments in technology and safety testing and rate cars accordingly.
It becomes the latest setback for Toyota with the Prius V. Earlier this month, a group of owners took legal action against Toyota due to the car's Pre-Collision System. The auto-braking system, designed to help prevent accidents, had insufficient braking strength in further IIHS testing.