The latest set of Euro NCAP crash test results brings an additional reward and more five stars, but not everyone is ready for tougher requirements in 2012.
This month’s top scorers with five star results are the Audi A6, the BMW X3, both the Chevrolet Aveo and Orlando, the Citroën DS5, the Hyundai i40, the Opel Ampera, and again both the VW Golf cabriolet and Jetta.
Only the Kia Picanto receives an overall rating of four stars. Surprisingly, the new Picanto was not fitted with electronic stability control as standard across the model range. In fact because of the proven safety benefits of ESC, new legislation requires the technology to be fitted as standard on all new models in Europe from January next year.
When we raised the matter with Kia Motors Ireland, we received good news. They told the Advertiser: "It is true that the model tested in Europe for NCAP did not feature ESC as standard, and as such only achieved a four-star rating. However, here in Ireland and also in Britain, ESC is standard on all models. All new Picantos on sale in this country are fully equipped with safety equipment to five-star NCAP requirement.”
Also released this month are the Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Orlando, which showed good whiplash and adult occupant protection scores. Euro NCAP recognises the major efforts made by the manufacturer since 2006 when the previous Aveo made headlines with a poor struck-through two star adult occupant result.
Some of the tested vehicles have obtained high scores for child occupant protection. The Hyundai i40 and both VW Jetta and Golf cabriolet are scoring 86 per cent. Michiel van Ratingen says: “Euro NCAP evaluates child safety for each model tested and encourages car manufacturers to provide equally good protection for adults and children. We consider child protection as a very important part of the overall star rating and have plans to step up our requirements even more in the coming years.”
While many cars released continue to impress in the areas of adult and child occupant protection, pedestrian protection scores are generally still lagging behind. The Opel Ampera, Audi A6, and Citroën DS5 only just meet Euro NCAP's 2011 pedestrian requirements for a five- star rating, but none of the cars in this release would meet the more stringent five-star requirement of 60 per cent coming into effect in 2012. A few car makers have already stepped up, showing much higher pedestrian scores such as the recently tested Ford Focus. Euro NCAP hopes that others will follow suit soon.
Euro NCAP is encouraged to see important advanced safety systems being offered to consumers on more and more models. The largest model yet for Citroën’s premium sub-brand, the Citroën DS5, also achieved five stars. The car is fitted with the Citroën localized emergency call, a PSA Peugeot-Citroën technology recognised in 2010 under Euro NCAP Advanced. Likewise, the five-star new medium-sized SUV BMW X3 comes with the awarded advanced eCall, a system that is able to automatically notify emergency services providing critical details of the crash event.
Another example is the Mazda rear vehicle monitoring system available on the Mazda 3 tested in 2009. Euro NCAP reviewed the safety benefits of this technology that detects and warns the driver of an approaching vehicle and helps to avoid common lane change related crashes involving two or more vehicles. Euro NCAP will be present at the Frankfurt Motor Show to hand out the privileged Euro NCAP Advanced reward on Mazda’s booth.