Safety in small pack­age

Be­ing small doesn’t mean safety is com­pro­mised, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE world’s small­est cars can still do the busi­ness on safety. Toy­ota has proved it with a max­i­mum five-star rat­ing for its tiny iQ in the lat­est Euro NCAP safety tests.

The iQ matched the five-star suc­cess of a some much big­ger cars, in­clud­ing the lat­est Mazda6 and Mit­subishi Lancer.

But, sur­pris­ingly, Aus­tralia’s fives­tar Subaru Im­preza got only four stars in the Euro­pean test­ing. As a re­sult, Subaru — and Mit­subishi — have made a greater com­mit­ment to elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

Euro NCAP re­quires sta­bil­ity con­trol to be stan­dard on 85 per cent of vol­ume sell­ers in any model, and an op­tion on ev­ery model, though this is a step back from Aus­tralia’s NCAP de­ci­sion that only cars with stan­dard sta­bil­ity con­trol can get five stars in 2009.

The other car in the lat­est Euro NCAP test­ing is the Citroen C3 Pi­casso, which got four stars. The tri­als in­cluded the lat­est test for rear im­pact, which mea­sures whiplash.

Euro NCAP fore­casts tougher re­quire­ments in com­ing years.

‘‘Euro NCAP wants to make sure safety re­mains a top pri­or­ity,’’ Euro NCAP gen­eral sec­re­tary Michiel van Ratinger says. ‘‘Not pri­ori­tis­ing safety is a false econ­omy. Man­u­fac­tur­ers who re­main com­mit­ted to safety will be justly re­warded with a good over­all rat­ing.’’

Lat­est re­search shows the eco­nomic cost of dam­age caused by traf­fic ac­ci­dents in Europe in 2007 was more than $500 bil­lion, or about 2 per cent of the gross na­tional prod­uct of the Euro­pean Union.

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