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No safety rating? No problem. How the "ageing" but popular Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series has avoided being reassessed by ANCAP despite losing five-star score

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The Toyota LC70 Series is no longer ANCAP rated.
The Toyota LC70 Series is no longer ANCAP rated.

There appears to be a loophole in ANCAP’s testing policy so big you can drive a truck through it. Specifically a Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series, which is now classified as a ‘light truck’ and therefore avoids the same scrutiny as utes considered light commercial vehicles.

The 70 Series was one of more than two dozen cars that had its ANCAP safety rating expire on December 31, 2023 as part of the safety body’s six-year expiry period to ensure older models do not retain a score from out-dated testing methodology.

While most models are due to be replaced in the near-future, and therefore would not be resubmitted for testing by car makers or make sense for ANCAP to spend its own money re-crashing seven examples of the car, there are some notable exceptions.

This group is led by the 70 Series but includes the Mazda CX-5 and MX-5, Jaguar E-Pace and F-Pace and Volkswagen T-Roc, all of which are expected to be on sale to the public for at least 12 months but likely longer.

For example, the 70 Series was given a comprehensive update in 2023 and therefore has a significant future period on sale. In late 2022 Toyota increased the gross vehicle mass (GVM) for the 70 Series to bump it up into the ‘light truck’ classification as a medium good category vehicle, which potentially avoids ANCAP’s focus on passenger vehicles and LCVs.

“ANCAP has traditionally tested and star rated passenger cars, SUVs and Light Commercial Vehicles, however the LC70 is no longer categorised as a Light Commercial Vehicle within the Australian Design Rules,” ANCAP CEO Carla Hoorweg told CarsGuide. “Any future assessment of the LC70 could see us evaluate it through our traditional star rating process, or through our upcoming programs evaluating the active safety performance of large utes and light trucks.”

But that doesn’t mean it has escaped re-testing from ANCAP, with Hoorweg leaving the door open for the organisation to look at it. 

“As with all unrated models, the 70 Series is open for consideration as a potential candidate for future testing and rating to current protocols,” she said.

Toyota reclassified the 70 Series LandCruiser as a medium truck to skirt around new regulations.
Toyota reclassified the 70 Series LandCruiser as a medium truck to skirt around new regulations.

Hoorweg explained the physical crash tests, active safety performance tests and scoring criteria have “moved on significantly” since the 70 Series was ranked by ANCAP in 2016. That means despite Toyota’s multiple safety upgrades, which includes lane departure alert, speed-sign assist and automatic high beam added to the previous expanded Toyota Safety Sense features from earlier updates, the 70 Series is unlikely to score the five-star rating that is demanded by many government fleets that favour the model.

“It is important to recognise that the LandCruiser 70 Series is an ageing platform,” Hoorweg said. “We would therefore encourage fleets and consumers to consider some of the more recently rated five-star light commercials as they are equipped with the latest structural safety elements and broad range of collision avoidance features.”

Given the extensive waiting list for the model, it seems Toyota is unlikely to be impacted significantly by the lack of an ANCAP score for the popular ute-cum-light-truck. 

“We expect to maintain strong demand for this vehicle in the years ahead, based on its unique position and capabilities in the Australian market,” a Toyota spokesperson told CarsGuide.

Stephen Ottley
Contributing Journalist
Steve has been obsessed with all things automotive for as long as he can remember. Literally, his earliest memory is of a car. Having amassed an enviable Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection as a kid he moved into the world of real cars with an Alfa Romeo Alfasud. Despite that questionable history he carved a successful career for himself, firstly covering motorsport for Auto Action magazine before eventually moving into the automotive publishing world with CarsGuide in 2008. Since then he's worked for every major outlet, having work published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Drive.com.au, Street Machine, V8X and F1 Racing. These days he still loves cars as much as he did as a kid and has an Alfa Romeo Alfasud in the garage (but not the same one as before... that's a long story).
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