An improper weld can let compressed gas leak out of the airbag inflator in the 2016 Toyota Prius.

Toyota will recall 7,600 examples of the 2016 Prius in the United States. The hybrids have a potentially serious problem with the airbags.

Toyota found that the compressed gas in the inflator for the front passenger airbag can leak out over time because of an improper weld. If the airbag needs to deploy, there might not be enough gas left to fully inflate the safety device, which could increase the risk of injury to occupants.

Toyota will contact affected owners be mail in November. Dealers will replace the front passenger airbag assembly.

This is the first recall in the United States for the fourth-generation Prius. So far, crash tests have shown the hybrid to be quite safe. It excelled a recent evaluation by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety by scoring top results in every category. The new Prius also improved its grade in the often-difficult small-overlap front crash over the previous one. The model achieved a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, too.

The 2017 Prius starts at $25,550 in the United States. The powertrain combines a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine running on the Atkinson cycle and an electric motor. The system has a total output of 121 horsepower (90 kilowatts). Most models achieve an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 54 miles per gallon city, 50 mpg highway, and 52 mpg combined.

Later this year, Toyota plans to launch the even more efficient Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. The model wears a Mirai-inspired front fascia and LED headlights. The powertrain boasts an 8.8 kilowatt-hour battery that gives the vehicle a 22-mile (35-kilometer) range on electric power. The company predicts the model’s overall driving distance at over 600 miles (965 kilometers). The PHEV also allegedly returns over 120 miles per gallon equivalent. Unfortunately, examples in the U.S won’t initially be available with an optional solar panel in the roof because the interesting feature won’t meet rollover safety standards. Toyota will work on a solution that will potentially all for it later, though.

Source: Toyota

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