Toyota car safety: occupant safety

Toyota develops its vehicles and technology under the umbrella of an ‘Integrated Safety Management Concept’, one part of a three-pronged approach which involves continual improvement in vehicle safety as well as initiatives to improve driver and pedestrian awareness and to create a safe traffic environment.

Toyota’s eventual aim is to realise a society where traffic accidents are a thing of the past, which is why decades of research into safety technologies have resulted in Toyota cars receiving consistently high results in Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with the Prius,  Yaris, Auris, Verso, Avensis and RAV4 achieving the maximum five-star award.

Toyota’s THUMS computer-modelling system has greatly helped the progress made in occupant and pedestrian safety. In this post, we take a look at some of the passive safety technologies that protect occupants in the event of a collision:

Impact-Absorbing Body and High-Strength Cabin
Seatbelts with Pretensioners and Force Limiters
Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) concept seats
Active Headrests
SRS Airbags
ISOFIX child seat mounting points

Impact-Absorbing Body and High-Strength Cabin

The safety of occupants in a collision begins with the construction of the vehicle itself. Since 1968, Toyota has designed and built its vehicles to have impact-absorbing body structures that will crush in the event of an accident, soaking up as much energy from the collision as possible.

In 1987, Toyota further improved occupant safety with the introduction of a high-strength safety cabin that dissipates energy throughout the entire body and minimises damage to the passenger compartment.

Seatbelts with Pretensioners and Force Limiters

Toyota introduced the three-point seatbelt in 1967, and the humble but vital restraint device has been saving lives ever since with little significant change to its design.

Seatbelts are immensely strong – capable of withstanding a weight of two tons – and are designed to control the movement of occupants within the cabin, particularly by limiting any impact to the chest during an accident. Yet they are also comfortable to wear in everyday driving, essential in encouraging occupants to use them on every trip.

In 1991, Toyota added pretensioners to seatbelts, a mechanism that instantaneously retracts the seatbelts when a strong frontal impact is sensed. This, in effect, quickly clinches the seatbelt to remove any slack in the belt and tightly grip the occupant before the full force of the impact is felt by the body.

Force limiters were introduced in 1997 and work in harmony with the pretensioners to protect the occupant while minimising the impact of the seatbelt itself to the occupant’s chest. Force limiters maintain an adequate amount of tension on the seatbelt to restrain the occupant without the force of the restraint causing injury.

Seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters are fitted to all Toyota passenger vehicles in the current range.

Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) concept seats

Just over half of injuries sustained in accidents in Japan were as the result of rear-end collisions, but approximately 90% of those injuries were neck injuries. That’s why Toyota developed the Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) concept seat, which first debuted in 1997 and was updated further in 2005.

The WIL concept seats are designed to cushion and support the occupant’s head and chest simultaneously, minimising the injury occurring from the head and torso moving in different directions. Toyota used its THUMS virtual-human computer modelling to confirm the effectiveness of the WIL concept seats in reducing whiplash injuries in lower speed rear impacts.

WIL seats are fitted as standard to most Toyota models, including Yaris, Auris, Prius, RAV4 and Land Cruiser.

Active Headrests

Active Headrests, introduced in 2007, are an extension to the WIL concept seats that further minimise neck injuries in rear-end impacts. A sensor in the seat is triggered by the lower back pressing into the seatback and activates the active headrest, which moves diagonally upwards and forward to catch the back of the head.

This technology decreases the severity of whiplash injury by a further 10-20% compared with the WIL concept seat on its own.

Active Headrests are featured on selected models in the Prius family, as well as Verso, GT86 and Land Cruiser.

SRS Airbags


The first SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) airbag was fitted to a Toyota in 1989, providing protection solely for the driver. Since then, Toyota’s SRS airbag systems have been expanded throughout the passenger cabin to the extent that some Toyota models have nine or more airbags that create a protective cocoon around their occupants.

SRS airbags are triggered in the event of serious collisions, inflating rapidly to produce cushion the occupant and reduce the risk of severe or fatal injury. Dependent on the model, SRS airbags include front airbags for head and chest protection, knee airbags, side airbags, curtain shield airbags, seat cushion airbags and even the revolutionary rear window curtain shield airbag specially developed for the tiny Toyota iQ.

ISOFIX child seat mounting points


ISOFIX is an internationally recognised standard that sets out the specification for secure anchoring of child safety seats in cars, consisting of two anchor points at the base of the rear seats and a top tether point. ISOFIX greatly reduces the risk of improperly fitted child seats, thereby increasing the safety and effectiveness of the child seat.

Occupant safety is a priority for Toyota, so all Toyota passenger vehicles are equipped with ISOFIX child seat mounting points.

To learn more about other Toyota safety technologies, see these related posts:

Braking technologies
Stability and control technologies
Monitoring systems
Safety through convenience


  1. Hello!

    Mum to be here, could you please tell me if our Toyota Auris reg plate: C1 HMS has ISOFIX?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Paige,
      Our system shows that your Auris has ISO-FIX as standard.
      We hope this helps.

  2. Hi I am a bit confused as everywhere I read it says that the the toyota hilux 2016 model has isofix, but I have looked all over my truck and I can’t find it. Does it does not have isofix?

    1. Hi Uchechukwu,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Our system shows that this Yaris has ISOFIX as standard.

  3. Hi, I would like to know where a d how can we get a seatbelt extender for our Toyota rav4. We are not able to fit our baby carseat in the middle back seat. We bought a universal seatbelt extender, it works on all seatbelts except the middle seatbelt.
    How and where can we get a seatbelt extender for the middle seatbelt so we can use our car taking our baby around safely.

    1. Hi Dany,
      Thanks for your question.
      Please provide your vehicle registration so we can assist you further with this.

  4. Hi i have a 2015 Hilux dble cab .reg ML15EXA cant find iso fix points . Can u help . If not can i buy an add on or new seats with the fittings

    1. Hi Phillip,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Our system shows that your Hilux has ISOFIX as standard.
      If you are struggling to find the ISOFIX points, we would recommend contacting your nearest Toyota Centre for further assistance.

  5. Hi, I’m having trouble understanding the vehicle manual for my 2012 plate Toyota Yaris regarding compatible car seats. I’d like to install a rear-facing car seat in the front passenger seat. It’s likely to be the Axkid Minikid 2 so it’s installed using the seatbelt and lower tethers. It’s an R44 seat suitable for 0-25kg. Please can you help?

    Also what is the Toyota G 0+ Babysafe Plus mentioned in the manual – a Toyota branded car seat? Or an approved list? Thank you.

    1. Morning Lucy,

      Thanks for your enquiry. The Parts and Accessories Team at your local Toyota Centre are best placed to assist you with this.

      Please find details of your local Toyota Centre here:

      Thank you.

      1. Hi Anna, thanks for your comment.

        We cannot confirm without the registration number, but it is unlikely your vehicle will have ISOFIX points.


        Toyota UK

  6. Hello, could you please tell me if a 2015 Hilux has isofix? I thought it did and have just brought my car seat home and can’t fit it. If it doesn’t is there a way to add isofix into the jeep. I called into a Toyota and they said it can’t be added on but nearly all children’s car seats are isofix now. The reg is 1513093 but the uk was HXZ6463

  7. Hi there,

    Can you please tell me if my 2000 toyota avensis has isofix? Reg no: X877 BAP
    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Gabe, thanks for your comment.

      Your vehicle does not feature ISOFIX points. These became mandatory around 2014.


      Toyota UK

    1. Hi Syed,
      Thanks for your question.
      Our system shows that your Auris has ISOFIX fittings as standard.
      Thank you.

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