At the top level, a five-star ANCAP safety rating for a vehicle means it’s very safe. But as flagged above, read this in the context of the year that score was awarded. The later the year, the more impressive the score, and the more aligned it is with current vehicle safety standards, as determined by ANCAP.
The calendar year for a safety rating is also included by ANCAP to incentivise vehicle manufacturers to continually improve safety features. Digging deeper into the vehicle results on the ANCAP website, though, there’s a percentage breakdown of a vehicle’s safety inclusions across four key categories (for all vehicles appraised from January 2018) that are used to determine the overall star rating.
It’s worth flagging that a five-star rating doesn’t mean a vehicle scores 100% in each of these categories. Let’s use the five-star 2022 test for the 300 Series Toyota Landcruiser as an example. The four areas of evaluation are Adult Occupant Protection (AOP), Child Occupant Protection (COP), Vulnerable Road User Protection (VRU), and Safety Assist (SA). For context, the Toyota Landcruiser scored 89% for AOP, 88% for COP, 81% for VRU, and 77% for SA.
Here's how each ANCAP category breaks down:
- AOP: Weighs up how protected adult occupants are, seated in the front and back (second row) of a vehicle during the most typical forms of serious injury crashes.
- COP: Considers how protected a child occupant is, seated in appropriate child restraints in a back seat, as well as the ability for a vehicle to adequately accommodate an array of child restraints.
- VRU: Evaluates the front of a vehicle in terms of minimising injury to a struck person, plus an assessment of a vehicle’s ability to avoid or mitigate hitting a cyclist or pedestrian.
- SA: Appraises the inclusion and effectiveness of any active safety technologies that are part of the vehicle and designed to assist the driver in minimising or preventing the impact of a crash.