The redesigned hybrid has aced the challenging small-overlap test.

Toyota's 2016 Prius has earned a Top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The fourth-generation hybrid has earned a 'good' rating in the challenging small-overlap test, while an improved automatic emergency braking (AEB) system has received a 'superior' assessment.

Starting with the 2016 model year, the IIHS tightened its Top Safety Pick+ criteria to require 'good' marks in each crash scenario and an 'advanced' or 'superior' rating for front crash prevention. The previous-generation Prius had only received an 'acceptable' rating for the small-overlap test, with nearly nine inches of intrusion at the lower hinge pillar.

"In contrast, the 2016 Prius had maximum intrusion of just 2 inches at the upper door-hinge pillar and at the brake and parking brake pedals," the IIHS said in a statement. "The dummy's movement was well-controlled, and measures taken from the dummy showed a low risk of injury in a crash of the same severity."

In the crash-prevention tests, the new Prius completely avoided collisions in both the 12 mph and 25 mph scenarios.

Aside from the safety enhancements, the 2016 Prius features a sportier exterior, standard LED headlights, even better fuel efficiency and improved handling.