A safety upgrade for the Toyota HiLux has boosted the Australasian New Car Assessment Program's (ANCAP) rating of 4x4 derivatives from four stars to five.

Toyota Hilux ANCAP1

The upgraded result applies to single- and extra-cab HiLux variants built from August 2013 and follows a series of safety improvements including a successful side pole impact test, improved knee protection and the inclusion of seatbelt reminders.

The Toyota HiLux dual cab 4x4 is expected to follow suit with a five-star rating - joining the likes of the Ford RangerMazda BT-50Holden Colorado and Volkswagen Amarok - though at this stage continues with its existing four-star rating. There’s no change to the HiLux 4x2, which remains a four-star vehicle.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh says the new ratings for single- and extra-cab HiLux 4x4s are good news for private buyers and larger fleet buyers that require a five-star rating for company vehicles under legal guidelines.

“This is an excellent case study of a very strong shift in the light-commercial vehicle market driven by safety," McIntosh said.

"There is no longer any excuse for fleet buyers when it comes to safety - they should accept nothing less than five-star safety."

For a comprehensive review of the most popular dual-cab utes on the market, read our massive eight ute comparison here.