Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Scroll to top

Top

2 Comments

Toyota Auris scores five stars for crash safety, but door opens during test

Toyota Auris scores five stars for crash safety, but door opens during test Toyota Auris pole test
Tristan Honeywill

The Auris is the car that Toyota wants to compete with the VW Golf and Ford Focus on quality and safety. The car has just achieved a five-star rating in Euro NCAP’s assessment, but with a rear coming open during a crash test, the Auris displayed some elementary shortcomings. The Euro NCAP results were released at the same time as for the new RAV4, which also suffered a minor issue in testing with a driver airbag that appeared to underinflate slightly.

The news is unfortunate for Toyota because the Auris otherwise offers good protection for the adults in front, side and whiplash type accidents. The Auris also did well on child safety and was one of the first to undergo a new style of assessment by Euro NCAP. Its tests now use much more realistic child dummies, the Q-Series, and there are now more thorough checks on how compatible the car is with a broad range of child seats. The car scored top marks for its protection of the 18-month dummy and did well for the three-year old too. Most child seats can be fitted easily and it is simple to deactivate the front passenger seat airbag to put the baby in a rear-facing seat there.

Toyota Auris side door came open during the side barrier test

“During the test, we have properly restrained child dummies on the back seat, but you can imagine how dangerous it could be if the door opened in a real-life side impact with somebody sat in the back.”

Aled Williams, Euro NCAP project manager

The rear door on the driver’s side coming open during the side barrier test is an unusual event these days in crash tests. A lot of design and development work goes into most cars to prevent this happening as it increases the risk of somebody being ejected from a car during an accident.

“We want to encourage more robust design so we deduct points when we see this happening,” Euro NCAP project manager Aled Williams told Car Safety Rules. “During the test, we have properly restrained child dummies on the back seat, but you can imagine how dangerous it could be if the door opened in a real-life side impact with somebody sat in the back.”

Unlike many of its competitors in the compact family car class, Toyota has decided to launch the Auris with relatively few driver assistance technologies available on the car. The car has all the stability control systems that are now a legal requirement, but there are no camera or radar technologies to alert you to hazards ahead. Options instead focus on cosmetic upgrades.

The Auris starts at £14,495 and comes with a five-year warranty and the possibility to opt for a hybrid powertrain, which will make it attractive to many. But for families and companies looking for higher levels of protection in their new car, Toyota may not have paid enough attention to the safety package.

Buyer’s guide

Consider the Ford Focus, roughly the same starting price, but more safety options

Comments

  1. Colin Jenkins

    Tristan

    You recommend the Focus and the Golf instead of the Auris, but by my calculations, the Focus and Golf would only be 4-star cars under the 2013 test. Can you comment on that?

    Thanks

    • Hi Colin
      You’re right: Euro NCAP’s rating scheme does keep making things a little tougher year-by-year. And so, to get five stars in 2013 the Focus and the Golf would probably need to fit more “Safety Assist” technologies: the key ones are speed limit technologies and seat belt reminders for the rear passengers. Is that what you’re basing your calculations on?
      There are different types of technologies to help drivers keep an eye on the speed limit. To get five stars in 2013, a lot depends on what type of system there is and how many Ford and VW promise to fit. Five stars might still be possible.
      Where Golf and Focus definitely fall short is on seat belt reminders for the rear seats. They’re options, not standard. Seat belt reminders are a useful technology that makes it easier for parents to be sure everybody is belted up safely. Cheap to fit, but how many people would think to ask the dealer?
      Toyota’s position is better on seat belt reminders – they have been standard fit on new cars for years.
      I like the Focus for offering options that take the car beyond Euro NCAP’s five-star rating – technologies that prevent accidents. Buyers can fit seatbelt reminders as an option – they are in the Family Pack which costs £75-250 and is available on all versions except the base Studio model.

Submit a Comment

Add Comment Register