2008 Toyota Highlander hybrid less safe than 2007 model

I don't mean to pile on the bad news that seems to be hitting Toyota recently but I was doing some work on AutoblogGreen's second annual pick for safest hybrids and things don't look good for Toyota. Our pick for safest hybrid in 2007 was, for passenger cars, the Toyota Camry and, for SUVs, the Toyota Highlander. In 2008, it looks like the safest hybrids for the passenger and SUV classes will be from GM, not Toyota.

It's not even a close call in the SUV class. The 2008 GMC Yukon hybrid and 2008 Chevy Tahoe hybrid both got 5 stars. The 2007 Toyota Highlander hybrid got 5 stars too BUT... the 2008 Toyota Highlander hybrid got all 5s except for a 4-star rating for passenger safety. That's right, the 2007 Highlander Hybrid is actually SAFER than the 2008 version. We simply can't reward Toyota for dropping the ball there. These awards are all about highlighting screw ups like that and encouraging innovation.

As for the passenger class, the number are not quite in yet but it looks like the 2008 Toyota Camry hybrid might lose out to 2008 Saturn Aura hybrid. The Aura is a mild (some think that's too kind) hybrid and only improves the fuel efficiency by 2 miles per gallon but we think we might give it an extra point for finishing with crash test results equal or better than the Camry. I also think the lack of ESC as standard in the 2008 Prius should lose Toyota points.

The criteria for this award is very simple, the cars must be a hybrid and have ESC. After that, it's simply which car has the best crash rating in the passenger and SUV class. This award is really shaped by our readers who changed it from just a simple ranking to a much better award. Our brilliant readers even corrected the government's car safety website in the process of creating the award. So, we ask our readers again for their comments. Should AutoblogGreen's 2008 award for safest hybrid go to GM because Toyota has dropped the ball on safety?

Update: I changed the text "the lack of ESC in the 2008 Prius" to say "the lack of ESC as standard in the 2008 Prius."

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