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by Tim Beissmann

The 2011 Toyota Camry and Hybrid Camry have been awarded five-star safety ratings by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The maximum five-star safety rating is up from the previous four-star rating, with Toyota Australia now fitting passenger seat belt reminders and improving driver’s knee protection.

The five-star rating applies to Camry and Hybrid Camry vehicles produced from May 2011. All new Camrys are equipped with dual front, side and curtain airbags, advanced front seatbelt reminders and pretensioners, as well as ABS, EBD and ESC.

While the safety upgrade is great news for customers, it was largely prompted by the Federal Government’s mandate for all passenger fleet cars purchased from July 1 to have a five-star safety rating.

A significant percentage of Camry and Hybrid Camry vehicles are purchased by the government, and failing to comply with the new laws would have significantly impacted Toyota Australia’s sales.

The standard Camry 33.13 points out of 37 while the Hybrid Camry scored marginally higher at 33.22 points.

The Camry earned 14.29 out of 16 in the offset crash test, 14.84 out of 16 in the side impact crash test, two points for completing the pole test and the final two points for having seatbelt reminders fitted.

The Hybrid Camry ranked 0.08 points better in the offset crash test and 0.01 better in the side impact crash test.

The Camry also scored a ‘marginal’ rating in the pedestrian protection test, scoring 14.5 points out of a possible 36.