RAC Cars News


Crash Test Disappointments

By raccars Published

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Safety is a major concern for auto manufacturers these days, meaning modern cars are safer than ever and growing even more so. There are few causes to worry about the safety of a modern car but, occasionally, crash testing does show up an anomaly. The car safety agency, Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme), which performs standardised tests and returns ratings based upon the results, is the most trusted system for judging auto safety standards. In recent crash testing, the unfortunate Suzuki Celerio small hatchback committed immediate public relations suicide by gaining only three points out of a possible five.

Euro NCAP was founded in 1997. Participation in its programme is voluntary for manufacturers but most do take part, as testing confers respectability on products. In the early days of Euro NCAP testing, one poor performer was the Rover 100, which scored just one star out of the possible five for adult occupancy protection. The test results impacted badly upon sales and the car was discontinued not long afterwards. The Euro NCAP results show just how seriously car makers take the programme and how far auto safety has come since the Rover 100. Since 2012, no car has scored below three stars.

While smaller cars are more often casualties of crash testing, the huge Nissan Navara also only managed a shameful one star out of five in crash testing. Nissan was horrified at the result and performed some hasty re-engineering on its pick-up, which saw it gain three stars on retesting.

Similarly, the Chrysler Grand Voyager MPV was tested in 2007 with a score of two stars. As a family car, this was a catastrophic result, but of note was the fact that right hand drive versions returned far worse results than left hand drivers.

The Jaguar XF's four star rating was relatively good but still below the five stars achieved by most of its rivals. Jaguar's response was exactly the same as Nissan's but unfortunately, even after modification, the XF could still only manage four stars on retesting.

The G-Wiz electric city car was rarely likely to achieve the sorts of speeds at which Euro NCAP testing is generally performed, but Top Gear magazine decided to put the vehicle through its crash test paces with Euro NCAP anyway. The G-Wiz was heavily criticised, not only because the bodywork collapsed so badly that the dummy used took half an hour to extricate from the wreckage, but also because some sharp edged pieces in the footwell were found, which could cause serious injuries to passengers' legs and even lead to death through excessive bleeding.

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