PriusI’ve ranted before about government bailouts.  A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.  Yet, somehow, not a dime seems to appear to help prevent the #1 killer of kids.  Recently, we’re pumping billions into helping people trade in their clunkers in order to take on even more debt so that they can buy a new car.  I’m glad it’s at least giving lip service to promoting better fuel economy.  I’d like to see some attention to better safety, too.

For example, I’d like to see new model year vehicles crash tested quicker.  Sometimes, it seems like it’s half way through the model year before results are available.  By then, half the sales are completed.  There are certainly very legitimate reasons why the NHTSA and IIHS ratings can’t be ready the moment a popular new model hits the market.  I’m also sure it’s nothing a billion or two dollars and some love from congress couldn’t fix!

Yeah, I’m a bit of a safety nut.  In our discussions about having a third child, I put in my request for a new minivan.  The old one had good crash test ratings, but the new one had side curtain airbags and stability control, plus top ratings all around.  My wife’s Subaru also lacked the latest features, much to my chagrin.  I’ve been hinting that she needed something safer and more fuel efficient for a year or two.

Late last week, we got word that her car needed another round of repairs and decided to look into replacing it.  We had been considering a Toyota Prius and fate took control over the weekend when we discovered our neighbors had just bought one.  It was really nice.  Problem was, the crash test results are not yet available, 3-4 months after it hit showrooms.  It’s not like some expensive sports car that sells a few thousand units a year.  It’s no Camry in terms of sales, but well over 100,000 people will buy a 2010 Prius this year.  I’ve read that it’s the 4th most popular model being purchased under the multi-billion dollar “Cash for Clunkers” program, having sold almost 20,000 in July alone.

We knew they were hard to find.  Many dealers have none in stock and most of those they have on order are being sold, sight unseen, at full MSRP.  We found one at a Carmax new car dealership, the same place we purchased her Subaru (also before the safety ratings were released!).  The salesperson held it for the day until we arrived.  It was selling for $500 under list price, too.  Nice car.  We bought it last night.  We got almost 63 mpg on our first trip going home the 75 miles from the dealer, mostly interstate driving (my review will be coming soon).

2010priusfrontiersToday I was playing with carseats to answer a post at Priuschat to show you can fit two Britax Frontiers in the back seat and still have enough room to fold down the armrest.  The rear seat is as wide as our Subaru wagon.  There are two sets of LATCH lower anchors and three top tether anchors.  The Frontier installs well with either the reverse seatbelt routing or LATCH.  Should be no issue fitting our three kids, but that’s another blog.

Everything should be joyous, right?  Well, for now, I anxiously await the crash test results.  I’m not too concerned.  Toyota has a pretty good track record.  The last Prius was decent in terms of safety.  There were no “3-star” or “Marginal” ratings that would have concerned me.  The 2010 comes standard with stability control and 7 airbags.  Supposedly, it’s heavier than the previous model due to an improved chassis design to make the frame stronger for crash protection.  I sure hope so!

In the mean time, anyone got a billion dollars so the next safety nut like me doesn’t run into the same problem?

2010 Toyota Prius 4-DR.w/SAB
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