Toyota Auris scores five stars for crash safety, but door opens during test
- Tristan Honeywill
- On March 5, 2013
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.
“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.
Consider the Ford Focus, roughly the same starting price, but more safety options
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