Euro NCAP announces the results for 12 new vehicle crash tests. This month’s top scorers with five stars are the Audi Q3, BMW 1 Series, Chevrolet Captiva, Fiat Freemont, Ford Ranger, Hyundai Veloster, Mercedes M-Class, Opel Astra and Zafira Tourer, Lancia Thema, and Toyota Yaris. The Lancia Voyager was awarded four stars.
The most remarkable result this month is the Ford Ranger, the first pick-up to achieve a five star rating, with impressive scores in all areas of Euro NCAP’s assessments. This third generation model was designed and engineered by Ford Australia and marks a significant improvement over the two star adult occupant rating of the previous Ranger in 2008.
In particular, the Ranger’s 81 per cent pedestrian score is the highest score recorded for pick-ups tested by Euro NCAP so far and therefore sets a new standard in this area. This performance is the result of a softer and well-engineered front end, absorbing the impact energy and better protecting pedestrians.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General, says: “With such pedestrian protection the Ford Ranger is undoubtedly raising the bar of safety in the category of pick-up trucks, which had until now not proven to be the safest”.
Other vehicles that obtained good scores for pedestrian protection include the BMW 1 Series, the Mercedes M-Class, and the Toyota Yaris, all scoring more than 60 per cent of available points, the lower limit that Euro NCAP will set for a five star rating from 2012 onwards. The BMW 1 Series is fitted with the Assist Advanced eCall, an automatic emergency call system rewarded under Euro NCAP Advanced.
In this latest set of results, the Fiat Freemont, the Mercedes M-Class, the Lancia Thema and Voyager are equipped with active bonnets in order to improve pedestrian protection. On these cars, sensors detect when a pedestrian has been struck and actuators lift the bonnet to provide greater clearance to hard structures underneath. Although it is encouraging that some manufacturers invest in high-tech measures to protect pedestrians, there is still room for further improvement.
The Lancia/Chrysler Thema, Lancia/Chrysler Voyager, and Fiat Freemont are the first three tangible results of Chrysler’s take-over by Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat. The Lancia Thema saloon gained overall five stars, whereas the new Voyager received four stars. Previously tested in 2007 under the Chrysler Voyager, the new Voyager is offering better safety but the town and country minivan is still lagging behind with 79 per cent in adult protection and 67 per cent in child occupant protection. On the up side, the minivan also demonstrated promising progress compared to the results of 2007 when the previous generation model scored no points and was awarded no stars for the protection it offered to pedestrians.
Finally, the Fiat Freemont, a seven-seat MPV built on the Dodge Journey, also achieved Euro NCAP five star overall rating.