Crash Testing Shows Improvements in Australian Small Car Safety Standards


The Subaru Impreza has joined the ranks of the Audi A3, Holden Astra, Mercedes A140, Peugeot 206, Toyota Echo and VW Golf by being awarded 4 stars for its vehicle safety performance in the latest tests by the independent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).


Japanese NCAP conducted the crash test on ANCAP's behalf using identical test procedures and evaluations to those used in Australia and Europe.


A 4 star rating requires a minimum score of 24.5 points. In previous tests the current model Audi A3, Holden Astra, Mercedes A140, Peugeot 206, Toyota Echo and VW Golf all achieved at least this minimum. The Subaru Impreza scored 27.5 points out of 34 in the latest test.


Recent tests on the Daihatsu Sirion, Hyundai Accent, Mazda 323 (also sold as the Ford Laser) and Peugeot 306 have resulted in positive ratings of three stars. The Nissan Pulsar and Daewoo Nubira rated two stars with the Daewoo Lanos one star.


Chairman of the Australian NCAP Management Committee, Lauchlan McIntosh said, "Since ANCAP began conducting crash tests in 1992, vehicle occupant protection in Australia has been improving slowly in small cars. It is now evident that small cars are being designed to gain 4 stars to meet the needs of more safety-aware consumers and it is pleasing to see a number of vehicles achieving 3 or 4 stars. However, the tests indicate that there is still a high risk of life threatening injury in some models."


Dr Graham Brisbane, the RTA's Manager, Road Environment and Light Vehicle Safety, said "The Australian and European test procedures used in the ratings involve an offset frontal test and a side impact test. A pole test is available at the vehicle manufacturer's cost only if the vehicle scores well on the side impact test and is fitted with head protection side airbags. A pedestrian test is rated separately."


"Other research shows there is a strong correlation between the offset frontal crash test and the injuries sustained from serious on-road crashes," Dr Brisbane said. "In line with European procedures, ANCAP test results are reported using a scale of one to five stars, with more stars indicating a better result and lower risk of occupant injury.


"ANCAP will also soon release test results from other small cars sold in Australia, "Mr McIntosh concluded.


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