The Toyota HiLux has become the first ute in Australia to earn a 2019 five-star safety rating, following a new round of tests against more stringent criteria.
The rating is an update to its previous five-star score – from 2015 – and puts a spotlight on rival utes with older ratings that could confuse consumers who may be unaware that not all five-star scores are created equally.
Most of the top-selling utes in Australia have five-star safety ratings. But some date back to 2011 when the criteria was easier to achieve than it is today.
The Holden Colorado rating is from 2016 and the Isuzu D-Max is still allowed to advertise a five-star result achieved in 2013 – yet both of these utes lack advanced safety aids now available on the HiLux, Ranger and Triton.
The Volkswagen Amarok and Mazda BT-50 have five-star ratings from 2011, even though they would not get that score if tested to today’s criteria which, at a minimum, now requires autonomous emergency braking and other advanced safety aids.
Five-star safety results are now only valid for six years, following new protocols introduced in 2018; the date stamp expiry was not in place when the 2011 cars earned their five-star ratings.
It also means Toyota doesn’t need to update the HiLux – and can keep its five-star safety rating – until 2025, when the next generation is likely due.
While the safety tests are conducted independently, the latest assessment program was funded by Toyota, although the vehicles were selected randomly.
The latest ANCAP assessment included a frontal offset test at 64km/h and a side impact test at 50kmh at a crash laboratory in Sydney, a full-width frontal test at 50km/h in Melbourne, and a full round of safety assistance tests in Europe.
“This is certainly an important move for Toyota customers, the segment, and more broadly, the market,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.
“Significant upgrades have been introduced to the updated HiLux to enhance occupant protection and prevent collisions with other road users.”
“While already a five-star vehicle, it is encouraging Toyota ... is the first to put forward a vehicle with improved safety specification to undergo re-testing against current, more stringent ANCAP criteria in order to update its rating date stamp,” he said.
Mid-life safety upgrades to the eighth generation HiLux include autonomous emergency braking that can detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists, and lane-keeping assistance.
In this instance, these advanced safety aids were tested by ANCAP in Spain. Combined with the three physical crash tests in Australia, the HiLux was given a 2019 five-star score.
“The standard inclusion of these advanced driver assistance systems across the Hilux range is a welcome move and one which will make this model even more appealing to private and fleet buyers with many fleets insisting on five-star rated vehicles with a ‘TESTED’ datestamp of no older than three years,” Mr Goodwin added.
“Utes are the most popular choice among Australian and New Zealand consumers, and no matter the use, the highest levels of safety should be provided,” Mr Goodwin added.
Ute safety compared
- Toyota HiLux: 2019 five-star safety rating
- Ford Ranger: 2015 five-star safety rating
- Mitsubishi Triton: 2015 five-star safety rating
- Holden Colorado: 2016 five-star safety rating
- Isuzu D-Max: 2013 five-star safety rating
- Nissan Navara: 2015 five-star safety rating
- Mazda BT-50: 2011 five-star safety rating
- Volkswagen Amarok: 2011 five-star safety rating
- LDV T60: 2017 five-star safety rating
- Great Wall Motors Steed: 2016 two-star safety rating