Much of the latest safety technology available on new cars is optional. Buyers must fork out extra cash to benefit from these impressive systems. The problem is that some of these systems make a real difference to how safe the car or van is, as measured by the Euro NCAP safety tests.
It’s probably fair to say that new vehicle option lists have never had such a large focus on safety. Buyers who are willing to pay extra can get a safer vehicle.
To get around this problem, Euro NCAP has recently introduced a new ‘Dual Rating’ testing system. The base version of a vehicle is tested, along with a second model that has a full quota of optional safety equipment. Judging from early results under this new duel testing regime, the differences in safety can be significant.
For example, the new Toyota Hilux scores just three stars in standard specification. However, when fitted with the optional safety pack, the Hilux’s Euro NCAP rating rises to the maximum five stars. I was intrigued by this and wondered what the differences were between the two vehicles.
Where are the safety weaknesses in the standard specification Hilux?
To find out more, I’ve compared the test details for each car. First of all, here’s how each version of the Hilux scores in the four sections of the Euro NCAP test:
|Safety test||Standard Hilux||Hilux with safety pack|
It’s clear that the biggest impact of the safety pack is in the Pedestrian and Safety Assist categories. But adult occupant safety also benefits. You can find out much more about what these safety tests mean and how they’re conducted on the Euro NCAP website, here.
Here’s a summary of the differences between the two Hilux models tested.
What’s the same?
All versions of the new Hilux have the same airbags and seatbelt-related features, such as Isofix. Drivers get four airbags, while front passengers get three. There’s an airbag cut-off switch for the front passenger seat, too.
Where things get different is in the driver assistance department. Toyota offers a wide range of safety systems that fall into the category of semi-autonomous driving — they guide the driver’s actions or take partial control of the vehicle in certain circumstances.
These systems aren’t included in the Hilux standard specification, but are available as an optional safety pack. This includes systems which meet the following Euro NCAP test requirements:
- AEB Pedestrian (AEB = Autonomous Emergency Braking)
- AEB City
- AEB Inter-urban
- Speed Assistance
- Lane Assist System
These systems have been shown to offer a number of benefits, in terms of both avoiding potential collisions and reducing the impact when a collision does happen. They remain optional on most vehicles at the moment, but I expect them to gradually become standard over the next few years.
In the meantime, drivers — and corporate buyers — will have to choose how much safety they want to pay for when buying new cars, vans and pickups.