Toyota Yaris and Isuzu D-Max ace tough new ANCAP safety test

ANCAP’s expanded safety criteria raises the bar for car makers.

Australia has two new five-star crash safety performers, following the news this week that the new Toyota Yaris and Isuzu D-Max had both emerged from the gruelling test process with flying colours. 

The compact hatch and rugged D-Max ute are the first vehicles to undergo independent safety testing under ANCAP’s expanded 2020 criteria, which now includes fitment of a centre airbag.

All variants of the Isuzu D-Max and Toyota Yaris achieved the maximum five-star safety rating in their respective Utility and Light Car categories, prompting ANCAP to issue a statement praising both brands for “showing that safety is of paramount importance regardless of market segment or vehicle use.”  

“Our 2020 requirements again set the bar higher to promote further vehicle safety improvements and address some of the ongoing challenges on our roads,” ANCAP Director – Communications and Advocacy, Rhianne Robson said

The new generation Isuzu D-Max scored well across all key areas of assessment with the standard inclusion of a front-row centre airbag for added occupant protection – a first for the ute segment – autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, multi-collision braking and active lane-keeping support.

The ANCAP report said protection offered to adult occupants in the side impact and oblique pole tests was good, with full points achieved, including for occupant-to-occupant head protection through the inclusion of the new centre airbag.  Full points were also achieved for the protection of child occupants in the frontal offset and side impact scenarios.  All 20 variants in the D-Max range (single cab, space cab, crew cab, and cab chassis) provide the same high level safety features and technologies as standard.

“The D-Max rating has been highly anticipated by fleet and private buyers, and re-establishes the safety benchmark for the competitive ute segment where the introduction of safety features has tended to lag that of passenger cars and SUVs,” Mrs Robson said.

In the Light Car segment, the new Toyota Yaris also performed well, achieving full points for the protection of adult occupants in both the side impact and oblique pole tests, and for the protection of child occupants in the side impact scenario. 

ANCAP said its upgraded frontal offset (mobile progressive deformable barrier) test presents new challenges for vehicles, whether small or large. The test incorporates a moving barrier representing an oncoming vehicle. In this test, protection of the Toyota Yaris driver’s chest and legs were assessed as marginal. For the Isuzu D-Max, the chest and left femur of the driver were similarly assessed as marginal.  All other critical body regions for occupants of the Yaris and D-Max were rated as either good or adequate.

The upgraded frontal offset test also evaluated a vehicle’s ability to mitigate the risk of serious injury to occupants in the opponent vehicle – known as “vehicle compatibility”.  In this test, the modest weight and benign front structure of the Toyota Yaris did not pose a high risk to the occupants of the oncoming vehicle.  In contrast, the front structure of the larger, heavier Isuzu D-Max presented a higher risk to the occupants of an oncoming vehicle in this test, and a penalty was applied.

ANCAP has tested the effectiveness of basic AEB systems – those that prevent rear-end crashes with other vehicles or impacts with cyclists and pedestrians – since 2018.  The organisation said its expanded range of AEB test scenarios from 2020 encouraged the early fitment of more sophisticated systems which can intervene in more complex scenarios, such as turning across the path of another vehicle, and avoiding pedestrian strikes when turning into an adjacent street.

“The Yaris introduces some of the most sophisticated passive and active safety systems, including dual centre airbags and AEB with Turn Assistance, which are features that are being seen for the first time in 2020,” Mrs Robson said.

“While COVID-19 has resulted in a slight delay to testing and release of our first 2020 ratings, these ratings re-establish market and consumer expectations for five-stars regardless of market segment or intended use.

“With the new challenges set by ANCAP from 2020, it is extremely pleasing to see manufacturers achieve good results against these increasing standards, and take responsibility by prioritising safety to provide their customers with the safest vehicles they can.”

Both the Isuzu D-Max and Toyota Yaris have also supplied ISO compliant rescue sheets – a new requirement of ANCAP’s 2020 test protocols – to assist with first responder response time in the event of a crash.