If only Australians drove as well as their new cars crashed
IT’S getting ever harder to injure yourself in Australia’s favourite class of car.
Toyota’s new RAV4 is the latest compact SUV to get the maximum crash safety rating from the Australian New Car Assessment Program. It joins a growing list of five-star softroaders including the Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda CX-5 and Ford’s Kuga.
The RAV4— a four-star car when last tested in 2006— has dual front, side and curtain airbags, as well as a driver’s knee airbag as standard. Also on the safety features list are seat belt reminders for all seating positions and some of the topspec models have adaptive front lights, blind spot warning system and reversing camera.
ANCAP boss Nicholas Clarke says strong Toyota sales mean the already high percentage of five-star SUVs on the road will increase. ‘‘ More motorists will be driving in fivestar safety,’’ he says.
The results, from crash tests performed on a European-built left-hand drive RAV4, scored 89 per cent for adult protection, 82 per cent for child occupant protection and 66 per cent for pedestrian impact protection.
All was not perfect. The driver’s airbag ‘‘ was not sufficiently well inflated to prevent the dummy’s head from flattening the airbag and making contact, through the airbag material, with the steering wheel’’.
The report said the resulting contact was not hazardous but ‘‘ the car was penalised and protection of the head area was rated as adequate’’.
Two veterans at the other end of the SUV segment also gained full marks. Toyota’s Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi’s Pajero were upgraded to five stars after equipment and trim upgrades.
A change in standard equipment in the Land Cruiser 200 Series added dual front knee airbags across the range— previously available on top-spec models only. Mitsubishi’s Pajero models built from next month will rank as five-star SUVs due to trim and equipment upgrades— it has passenger seat belt alert and there is additional energy-absorbing material on the underside of the steering column.
Crunch time: Toyota’s RAV4 adds a fifth star to its ANCAP tally