2017 Toyota NHTSA safety rating

Toyota RAV4

Though most people have heard of NHTSA safety ratings in passing, few know what the acronym stands for and why the safety ratings are so important. NHTSA stands for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This group is an Executive Branch agency under the umbrella of the federal government of the United States. The NHTSA also falls beneath the umbrella of the Department of Transportation.

NHTSA Mission

The goal of the NHTSA is to reduce vehicle related crashes, prevent injuries and save lives. The agency reviews automotive safety in an attempt to prevent physical and emotional harm to vehicle drivers and occupants. The group's publication of automobile safety test results educates vehicle-seekers about vehicle safety to decrease the odds of an accident harming them and their loved ones. The NHTSA is also tasked with creating and enforcing the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The group even writes the regulations regarding motor vehicle theft resistance as well as fuel economy according to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy system's rubric.

NHTSA Logo

How the NHTSA Safety Ratings are Determined

The NHTSA sets the bar for vehicle safety at a high of five stars. The lowest possible score is one star. The more stars a vehicle receives, the safer it is. These stars are a gauge of crash test and rollover performance in terms of how such an impact affects vehicle occupants. The NHTSA remains unbiased by conducting crash testing through the agency's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). This program crash tests new vehicles with the same conditions so auto-seekers can compare data with ease. The NHTSA conducts side impact crash tests, front impact crash tests and rollover tests to determine a vehicle's overall crash test rating.

NHTSA Front Crash Test

The NHTSA's front crash tests are conducted by smashing the vehicle directly into a barrier. The aim of the test is to simulate a collision of two cars that are about the same size, moving at 35 miles per hour. This is an important qualifier as accidents occur with vehicles of varying sizes as well as cars of the same size. So keep in mind that the purchase of a small car will have accompanying crash test ratings that are not applicable should the vehicle smash into a large sport utility vehicle or truck.

NHTSA Side-impact Crash Test

The NHTSA's side-impact crash tests make use of a barrier that slams into the side of the vehicle. This test simulates a collision between two cars of the same size with one moving at 34 miles per hour and the other vehicle traveling at 17 miles per hour.

Toyota Tacoma

NHTSA Roll Over Test

The NHTSA's roll over rating is determined by a unique dynamic vehicle test. This test gauges the vehicle's stability by rapidly altering directions, gauging the width of its track and measuring the height of the vehicle's center of gravity. In general, vehicles with a low center of gravity and a wide track are not inclined to roll over. Those that are thin and tall stand face a greater risk of a roll over.

2017 Toyota NHTSA Safety Ratings

The majority of the '17 Toyotas received either perfect or near-perfect NTHSA safety ratings, making them some of the safest vehicles on the road:

  • This year's Toyota RAV4 earned a perfect five star NHTSA safety rating
  • The 2017 Toyota Camry also earned a perfect five star NHTSA safety rating with a five star performance in side crash tests, four stars in front crash testing and four stars in the rollover crash test
  • The '17 Toyota Avalon earned the best possible five stars from the NHTSA as well
  • The new Corolla also earned a perfect five star score
  • The 2017 Toyota Tacoma earned a four star NHTSA rating
  • The '17 Toyota 4Runner earned four stars from the NHTSA
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