The Avensis was launched after Euro NCAP reported on family cars in July 1997. However, Toyota has funded tests so that it can be compared with its rivals. Even without side airbags, the Avensis’ side-impact protection was best of the class and easily meets legislation for Airbags gave stable head support but high chest loading new models taking effect from October. For pedestrians, above-average protection was provided for their heads by the bonnet’s leading edge, but bumper area protection was poor.
The passenger compartment remained stable after the impact, all doors could be opened and closed normally and intrusion levels were low. The front airbags provided stable support for the occupants’ heads. Belt loading to the driver’s chest resulted in marginal protection but that of the passenger’s was adequate. Stiff structures around the steering column increased the risk of injury to the driver’s upper legs and pelvis and there was a risk of injury to the knees themselves. Protective webbing was moulded into the steering column shroud, covering part of the steering lock. A bracket was fitted to limit rearward displacement of the brake pedal.
Even without side airbags, protection for the driver’s chest was adequate. The seat design helped to protect him from impact with the door and central pillar. Protection for his abdomen was good and for his pelvis, adequate.
The rear outboard seat belts could be set to lock when a restraint was used and this was explained on a text label on the belt webbing. A pictogram and two text labels were provided to warn against using a rearward-facing child restraint in a front seat because an airbag was fitted. The recommended restraints were compatible with the car’s belts, and they controlled forward k movement of the children’s heads in the frontal impact. However, the older child’s head was not contained within the restraint during the side impact.
Half of the child head impact test sites met the proposed legislative requirements, two showed weak performance and one was poor. For adults’ heads, protection was better than average. Four sites gave weak protection and two gave poor protection. Two sites on the bonnet’s front edge gave weak protection but the other site and the bumper area gave poor protection.