Toyota says that the new Toyota Avensis has been awarded the highest ever score under the stringent Euro NCAP crash safety rating system with 34 points. Toyota also says that it is also the first car to be awarded the maximum 5 stars by Euro NCAP under a new, tougher testing regime.

The new Avensis features nine airbags, including a knee airbag. But in spite of its impressive array of safety features, the car has received mixed reviews in the press.

"We are very proud that Euro NCAP has recognised that the new Avensis sets a new benchmark for safety with a record score," commented R Graham Smith, Managing Director of Toyota GB. "Toyota engineers designed everything on the car to a superior level of quality, aiming to give customers the very best in many areas, including running costs, reliability as well as safety."

Toyota says the new Avensis features many active safety features, such as the latest-generation ABS system and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution as standard. Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC) are also available to provide additional safety under slippery conditions or during high performance driving.

In terms of passive safety the new Toyota Avensis is top of its class according to Toyota. The company points out that in addition to the nine airbags it features a strong, rigid body structure in which components are designed to help absorb and disperse impact energy, minimising cabin distortion.

The front driver and passenger airbags feature dual-stage inflators, a seat-position sensor on the driver's side and an impact severity sensor in the front. Side and curtain-shield airbags offer protection to front and rear passengers in the event of a side impact.

Emphasising the importance of wearing seatbelts, the new Avensis has a two-step seatbelt warning system that reminds occupants that seatbelts must be used.

ISOFIX child seat fittings in the rear seat are standard and the Child Restraint System (CRS) is equipped with a top tether to help prevent the child seat from tipping forward in the event of an impact.