Alto gets three stars in European test
Suzuki is banking on airbags to save baby, writes PAUL GOVER
THE arrival of a new Suzuki price-fighter has taken a heavy hit from a substandard three-star crash-rating in Europe. The baby Suzuki Alto trailed a five-star pack led by the Audi Q5 in the latest round of Euro NCAP testing, but the local importer says it is not worried by the result.
Suzuki Australia is banking on a four-star tick once the car is crashtested locally after its launch next month.
‘‘It wasn’t our car. The Australian specification car is significantly different, with six airbags as standard and electronic stability control available on the higher-range car,’’ Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers says.
‘‘We’ve done some local research and ANCAP says it probably will get four stars. We’re very confident it will be four stars. We’re looking forward to having it tested here. We’re confident.’’
Devers says it’s also important to consider the car’s price and its competition.
‘‘People compare it with the Hyundai i20, but it should be against the i10 and some other small cars from Europe,’’ he says.
Even so, Euro NCAP chief Michiel van Ratingen highlighted the areas in which the Alto is lacking.
‘‘The Suzuki Alto scored three stars. Its rating (was) limited by its performance in adult occupant protection, child protection, and safety assistance technologies,’’ he says.
One Euro-focused baby that could rival the Alto is the Kia Soul, which has five Euro NCAP stars. It costs more, but is cashing in on the funk factor among young buyers. The Soul, the Q5, Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 and Peugeot 3008, which is not planned for Australia, all got five.
Euro NCAP tests now include pedestrian and child-occupant protection though, unlike in Australia, a five-star rating does not require electronic stability control.
‘‘At the heart of the new rating scheme is the objective to offer consumers a full picture of a car’s overall safety performance,’’ van Ratingen says. ‘‘Many claim the weight and size of a car are the only criteria for safety. We believe other aspects are just as important. The smaller cars we tested whose results are released today show size should not stand in the way of all-round safety.
‘‘Euro NCAP would like to commend the Honda Jazz and the Hyundai i20 for their impressive pedestrian scores that not only meet current requirements, but Euro NCAP’s future requirements.
‘‘ Seats from the Kia Soul achieved a good result in the program’s whiplash testing, again revealing it’s not only the larger or expensive cars that achieve impressive results.’’
Bags of features: the six airbags in the new Suzuki Alto should help it get a four-star safety rating.