As I told in blog's description, my site is about my recent experience with Toyota and one of their top products - Land Cruiser 120 Prado.

This is not a complaint, this is a warning. This is a warning for the people who thinks that a "legendary" brand + your money = your great experience...

Also, I will show you what CCS (Complete Customer Satisfaction) and "Customer First" concept, one of Toyota's main commitments, stands for in my case.

So what’s happened to the car?

A month ago, I had a car accident that showed me how vulnerable my car is.

My car was hit in its back-right wheel by other car (old VOLVO V40) at a crossroad near a small Finnish town center. Both cars were moving at 40 km/h or less. As a result of this collision, my car fell on its left side, rolled over the roof and finally fell at its right side.

The car is totally damaged: all its body and roof are bended and scratched, the windshield is broken, and so on.

Here is the picture:

Some more details..

To illustrate the case better, I included the trajectory of the car revealed during an expertise that followed. This is the picture that shows how the car was turned:

And this picture shows what happened from the other side - how the car rolled over:


After the collision and while the Land Cruiser was rolling over not a single SRS airbag deployed.

I bought Land Cruiser 120 Prado SOL/R2 because I knew that it has 2 side-airbags and 2 window safety curtains. But not a single one of them opened up.

So, the fact is: the impact of the side-hit was enough for the car to roll over, but not enough for these safety systems to deploy and protect the passengers.

Of course, my wife, my child and me, all had hematomas because our bodies and heads were struck with roof pillars and other parts. IS IT SAFE FOR PASSENGERS?

Happily there were no pedestrians or other cars (except for the car that hit my car) around. It is easy to imagine how this massive rolling car could injure them. For example, this big car could roll into a bus stop full of people. Why? Just because it was hit not that strong when being moving not that fast at an ordinary crossroad. This can happen everywhere, no special conditions required. IS IT SAFE FOR THE OTHERS?

OK, there is one more point: may be my car was broken when this happened. But after this accident Toyota organized an expert inspection, and the report says that all car safety systems functioned normally, nothing failed or was broken. This means that this is NORMAL for the model.

Toyota's safety information

I looked for the safety information that is available at Toyota's sites like and found the following information. The picture shows closely what happened to my car, you can enlarge it to see my highlights:

They say "Toyota has established its own standards reflecting actual accidents and by also taking into account the standards stipulated by laws and regulations and third-party evaluations for providing safety information. In addition, Toyota has satisfied those standards to pursue the best-in-class safety level."

Please note, "its own standards", we'll talk about common standards in the next posts.

See how "cool" this is supposed to work:

BTW, this video shows how Land Cruiser Prado hits another Toyota car.. much interesting is that when Land Cruiser Prado is hit it just rolls over and no SRS's are deployed..

Euro NCAP safety data for Land Cruiser

I have looked for the safety information about Land Cruiser at the site of the most influential European car safety testing/rating organization - Euro NCAP.

You know what I found? Nothing. Check it yourself and see the result:

Why Land Cruiser is not there, neither LC Prado, nor LC 200 (V8)?

Well.. You can see how these guys (Euro NCAP) select the cars to test. They say that they select from the cars that seem most important for the market. Maybe Land Cruiser is not that important? OK.. But also they say:

"Cars can also be sponsored by the vehicle manufacturers. Some sponsor most of their models, others very few. The process for selecting the test variant and its safety equipment is exactly the same as for member-sponsored cars, and the same methods for ensuring random selection are used in both cases."

So Toyota doesn't want to pay for this, or what?

It's not that important for such a car? Then why VW Touareg, Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover, Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volvo XC90, BMW X3 and X5 and other cars like these are there?

NHTSA safety data for Land Cruiser

NHTSA (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is a US agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, part of the Department of Transportation.

I know that Toyota doesn't sell Land Cruiser 120 Prado in the US, but Toyota sells Land Cruiser 200 (V8) there.

So, may be Land Cruiser safety is rated there?

No, it's not. You can check it here.

IIHS safety data for Land Cruiser

OK, lets check one more US source of car safety ratings data - IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety),

What about other SUVs?
Yes, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery, Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Grand Cherokee and much more other cars are there.

Other safety information sources

I also checked other car safety information sources like, US resource of NHTSA (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

I found this information about rollover safety systems (rollover air bags and others) "In addition to protecting drivers’ or passengers’ heads during a side-impact crash, some side-impact head air bags, or "curtains," can also protect occupants from injury and ejection during a rollover crash. This is important because ejection causes most injuries and fatalities in rollover crashes - most people who are killed are not wearing safety belts to hold them in place."
They also say that "Not all side-impact head air bags are designed to deploy as rollover air bags. Check with your dealer and vehicle manufacturer for the availability of side-impact head air bags that can also operate as rollover air bags."

This kind of air bags is also called RSCA (Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags).

So it looks this high-center-of-gravity-SUV Land Cruiser Prado that costs approx. 50,000 Euro is just not equipped with this type of air bags.. I wonder why it's so if the manufacturer knows that HIGH CENTER OF GRAVITY = ROLLOVER DANGER?

Now lets check this about Land Cruiser 200. Toyota's site says that it does have "Three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags (RSCA) with cutoff switch" and also says "Side Curtain Airbags have a roll-sensing deployment feature that will inflate the curtain airbags at severe tilt angles, or in a roll condition." It'd be great to see any test resuls for them..

Roll-sensing side curtain airbags

I made some interesting research regarding Roll-sensing side curtain airbags (RSCA). It looks like Toyota knows very well that this system is needed in SUVs like Land Cruiser 120 Prado. See why. (PLEASE TRY THE LINKS TO CHECK THIS DATA YOURSELF)

Toyota installs this safety systems into their SUVs:
Land Cruiser 200 (V8),

They also install it into Lexus SUVs:
Lexus GX,
Lexus RX,
Lexus LX.

Other manufacturers know rollover safety air bag curtains importance for SUVs also:

Nissan Pathfinder has "Roof-mounted curtain supplemental air bags for side-impact and rollover head protection for all three rows of outboard occupants".

WV Touareg has "Rollover sensor system - it is employed to record the vehicle turning angle and the turning speed; it determines whether the vehicle will encounter a possible rollover situation; the sensor data merges with the determined parameters of the acceleration sensors in the airbag control device; if an analysis of the data shows that a rollover hazard is present, the side curtain airbags are activated to reduce the risk of injury".

Volvo XC90 has "Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS) ...But if it does roll over, an electronic sensor triggers the IC inflatable curtain and seatbelt pre-tensioners".


Talking to Toyota

After all this happened I asked Toyota Motor Corporation head office and Toyota Motor Europe (TME) head office questions like:

- Why this massive car (LC Prado) rolled over that easily?
- Why not a single airbag (side-airbags, window curtains – I paid for them all) opened up?
- Why this car can roll over being hit with no airbags opening at all?


Come on, you just paid some 50,000 Euros and after this you think that they will answer your questions? :)


First, they redirected me to my national distributor - OOO Toyota Motor (Russia), who is not a manufacturer at all, but the manufacturer just doesn't want to talk to its customers they just "monitor".. Clever..

OOO Toyota Motor (and TME) rejected all my requests to inspect the car where it was (in Finland at Finnish Toyota dealership parking lot) and requested me to transport it to Saint-Petersburg for the inspection. They covered these expenses, but not my time.. I even negotiated with transporting company myself about insurance..

Euro NCAP response about Land Cruiser

To be completely sure about Euro NCAP, I sent a request to Euro NCAP about Land Cruiser 120 Prado and Land Cruiser 200.

Here is Euro NCAP's response (26-th May 2009):

"Euro NCAP has not tested the Toyota Land Cruiser 120 Prado and Toyota Land Cruiser 200 and has no plans to test them in the near future."


Toyota Land Cruiser 120 Prado official brochure

As far as we know now, neither Toyota Land Cruiser 120 Prado nor Toyota Land Cruiser 200 has ever passed Euro NCAP crash-tests.

Why Toyota Land Cruiser 120 Prado brochure, an official source of information about Land Cruiser 120 Prado, contains the following text at the page 2:

"This commitment to quality results in real benefits – benefits that enhance the quality of your life. We know this because you tell us so by consistently voting Toyota highly in independent customer satisfaction surveys. This is also evident through the outstanding results Toyota achieves in the Euro NCAP safety tests."? (This text is placed next to Land Cruiser 120 Prado photo)

This mention of Euro NCAP in the brochure of a specific model makes a consumer think that Land Cruiser 120 Prado passed Euro NCAP test. This misleads and makes customers make a wrong choice. I know this, because I HAD BOUGHT THIS CAR AFTER READING THE BROCHURE AND HAD UNSAFE ROLLOVER ACCIDENT AFTER I HAD BOUGHT THE CAR.

There is also the following text in the brochure: "Together with dual two-stage front airbags, side and curtain airbags afford maximum occupant protection."
How can this be MAXIMUM PROTECTION if all this airbags are not rollover-sensing? This is an obviously false statement. Toyota has RSCA technology and knows about its importance in SUVs.