Our safe Urban Cruiser


Toyota gives priority to building cars that are as safe as possible. In 2009, we received a 5-stars rating for all three new cars that were evaluated by Euro NCAP (iQ, Avensis and Prius).

We are therefore very surprised that Urban Cruiser only received a 3-stars rating by Euro NCAP. As for any other Toyota vehicle, we had submitted Urban Cruiser to rigorous in-house tests, which indicated that Urban Cruiser would secure 5 stars.

We are currently investigating the Euro NCAP result in detail, in order to understand why there is a difference between our Toyota assessment and Euro NCAP’s rating.

Together with other car makers, we are also discussing with Euro NCAP on certain aspects of their evaluation methodology, which might also explain why the rating is lower than expected.

We remain fully convinced that Urban Cruiser is a safe car.


The 3 star rating for Urban Cruiser has been triggered by the “Pole Side Impact” test.  For other categories such as pedestrian protection, child protection and safety assist (VSC fitment, rear seat belt reminder), Urban Cruiser complies with the 5-star rating threshold.

During the Pole Side Impact test assessment, the dummy head area deceleration slightly exceeded the demand value of Euro NCAP.

There is a difference of opinion between us and Euro NCAP on a technical matter, namely peak acceleration of the head area in the Pole Side Impact test. Toyota and other ACEA members are currently working very closely with Euro NCAP in the spirit of mutual understanding and collaboration to resolve this difference.

Our in-house tests, which are designed to meet the highest safety requirements, indicated that the protection provided by the head curtain airbag would be in line with a 5-stars Euro NCAP rating. Therefore we are very surprised by this assessment. We need to investigate this further before providing more comments.

Urban Cruiser has been designed to offer the highest level of active, passive and pedestrian impact safety performance.

Its lightweight yet highly rigid impact-absorbing bodyshell incorporates a significant percentage of high tensile steel. Impact absorbing material is used in all the door trims to reduce impact forces on passengers’ backs and chests in a side collision, and the door armrest structure has a crushable design to further absorb side impact forces.

The bonnet has an energy-absorbing structure and a crushable cowl at its rear edge. The bonnet lock is set well down, away from the upper bonnet surface, and upper and lower leg impact absorbers are incorporated into the vehicle’s front structure. Additional absorbers are positioned where the rear edge of the bonnet meets the upper wing, and front wiper motor has a collapsible bracket, designed to help prevent injury in a pedestrian impact.

All Urban Cruisers are fitted with seven airbags: driver and front passenger airbags, driver’s knee airbag, front side airbags and full-length curtain shield airbags. All seats have three-point ELR (emergency locking retractor) seatbelts with a pre-tensioner and force limiter function. ELR locks up the belt when the load on it exceeds a preset value. During a collision, the force limiter fractionally reduces seatbelt tension to reduce impact forces on the wearer’s chest. Active front headrests are designed to reduce whiplash injury in rear-end collisions. If a rear impact of sufficient force occurs, the headrests automatically move forwards and
upwards to support the head.

ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) are fitted as standard to all Urban Cruiser models.

Once again, we remain fully convinced that Urban Cruiser is a safe car.



  1. Hi; I really love the Urban Cruiser have been to view & it’s superb & looks brilliant; but please why why why only manual transmission; so disappointed as I my licence is restricted to automatic transmissions; please does Toyota have any plans to offer any of their auto options in the future – the same engine is available on the Yaris with auto box; kind regards; Bruce

  2. I ordered an UC because it is the perfect car. Please, Toyota, take a step pack and offer free exchange of improved airbags for the knee and side impacts!

  3. Hi Bruce,

    Sorry for the delay. I spoke to the Urban Cruiser brand manager, who told me that there are currently no plans to launch an automatic Urban Cruiser model. This is because demand for such an automatic has been low. That’s not to say it’ll never happen – it’s just not planned for the near future.

    Thanks so much for your feedback, and please do get in touch with any further questions you have.

    1. Julia,

      I’ve used the Bluetooth in my Urban Cruiser for handsfree with a Nokia, iPhone and a Google Android phone. Handsfree compatibility is unlikely to be an issue with any reasonably modern phone.

      For setting up and using, I find it a lot easier with the sat nav option as you then get touch screen dialling – meaning you never need to take the phone out of your bag. I simply copy my most used numbers into the car’s phone book.

      The Urban Cruiser also supports blue-tooth audio but, as this drains the battery quite quickly, I find it easier just to use a cable into the line-in socket.

      If you have a particularly rare model of phone, and you’re unsure, pop it into a dealer and ask if you can test it’s compatibility on a demonstrator car.

      1. I can connect my iPhone 4 to the standard head unit on my D-4D Urban Cruiser however it will not stream my music on the iPhone

        Any ideas on how to tune or enable this?

  4. Why is it so difficult to get a test drive in the Diesel version of the Urban Cruiser here in Devon? I contacted my brother in law in Chelmsford in Essex and he contacted his local dealer the same morning, and was offered a test drive the same afternoon.

  5. Hi Ben

    Yes thanks. I had a good moan at my local dealers and they eventually managed to get one from out of area. Very impressed, so ordered one!
    Delivery hopefully mid March. Can’t wait!


    1. Great news.

      My wife got an Urban Cruiser in September and we’re both very happy with it. We’re getting 47mpg out of it with no effort at all, more economical drivers are going to be pleased with the result.

      The 4wd works very well in snow too.

  6. Hi again Ben

    Looking at the Euro NCAP “Side pole impact” tests, it occurs to me that the Urban Cruiser is quite a lightweight car. For a standard weight dummy, the sideways accelersation of the car will be greater in proportion than the sideways acceleration of the dummy, when hit from the side by a “standard impact force”. This would probably result in the dummy’s head hitting the side of the car. This may be the reason for the apparently poor rating of the UC in this test. A heavier car would perform apparently better, and this seems to be born out by looking at some of the other cars whose tests are “good”.
    Conversely, a light car wouldn’t hit the pole with the same force as a heavy car, if this is supposed to replicate the effect of a car at a given speed skidding sideways into a lamp post or similar.
    Basic physics?


    1. Hi Phil,

      I don’t work for Toyota UK so can’t really comment on the results, but I do see where you’re coming from.

      As a former Physics student, presumably you’re applying the conservation of momentum principle and equating this to a Newton’s cradle style collision. In your theory, a heavier car would absorb more of the kinetic energy from the original impact. That makes some sense to me but I can’t confirm either way whether it truly applies in this case.

      What I can say is that I left my wife and 11 week old child go out in the car on a daily basis with every confidence that they are considerably safer than in her old car.

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