Safety faces it­sown­test

The bar is soon to be raised be­yond ba­sic im­pact pro­tec­tion, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

IT’S five stars all around in the lat­est se­ries of crash test­ing by Euro NCAP, in­volv­ing sev­eral likely show­room stars in Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing the Hyundai ix35 and Suzuki Swift.

The Citroen C4 and Honda CR-Z also make a max­i­mum score in the test, prov­ing the qual­ity of the lat­est new­com­ers but also high­light­ing short­com­ings in the NCAP sys­tem.

At the same time as re­veal­ing its lat­est re­sult, Euro NCAP says it will have more de­tailed rat­ings avail­able from Oc­to­ber and plans to test its first elec­tric ve­hi­cles be­fore the year’s end.

The sec­re­tary-gen­eral of Euro NCAP, Michiel van Ratin­gen, says: ‘‘The re­sults show man­u­fac­tur­ers are ris­ing to the chal­lenges of Euro NCAP’s new rat­ing scheme and are con­tin­u­ing to make safety a pri­or­ity.

‘‘The Honda CR-Z demon­strates that good all-round safety needs not be com­pro­mised by a fuel-ef­fi­cient petrol-elec­tric hy­brid.

‘‘Sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ers are ex­pected to re­lease fully elec­tric ve­hi­cles in the near fu­ture. Euro NCAP is poised to test them to en­sure high safety stan­dards are main­tained, with the first re­sults ex­pected early in 2011.’’

The five-star scores re­flect the stan­dard fit­ting of elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol on three of the four test cars, though it is op­tional on the C4 in some Euro­pean coun­tries.

‘‘Euro NCAP’s re­quire­ments on ESP have en­cour­aged much broader fit­ment of this im­por­tant technology by car man­u­fac­tur­ers,’’ van Ratin­gen says.

He also high­lights the changes with NCAP ‘‘Ad­vanced’’, which will look at technology be­yond ac­tual im­pact pro­tec­tion.

‘‘The C4 was the only car to be re­warded for an ac­tive, driver-set speed-lim­i­ta­tion de­vice which as­sists driv­ers in main­tain­ing a safe driv­ing speed.

‘‘ Euro NCAP be­lieves that car man­u­fac­tur­ers who are com­mit­ted to safety need to be justly awarded with a good over­all rat­ing and is en­cour­ag­ing all car man­u­fac­tur­ers to reach such good re­sults in the fu­ture,’’ he says.

‘‘I’m look­ing for­ward to the launch of Euro NCAP Ad­vanced.

‘‘The new as­sess­ments will broaden the scope of our safety as­sess­ments and will greatly en­hance the in­for- ma­tion we are able to pro­vide to con­sumers. It is re­as­sur­ing that, as well as de­vel­op­ing these new ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, man­u­fac­tur­ers are not ne­glect­ing fun­da­men­tal crash pro­tec­tion and to­day’s re­sults show that car­mak­ers are still striv­ing for the very best lev­els of pro­tec­tion.’’

Full marks: the Honda CR-Z is among cars to pass Euro NCAP crash tests with fly­ing colours.

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