The safest cheap cars in SA, ac­cord­ing the AA. None of them use a roll cage, which is what saved this C1.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THE AA has re­leased a re­port scor­ing the pres­ence of ABS and air bags in the 23 cheap­est cars South Af- ri­cans can buy new for un­der R150 000 from 13 dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The re­port states: “The va­ri­ety of mo­tor ve­hi­cles avail­able in South Africa is not equal when viewed in terms of the qual­ity and fea­tures on of­fer, es­pe­cially when con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of ba­sic safety fea­tures avail­able in ‘af­ford­able’ mo­tor ve­hi­cles.”

This then begs the ques­tion, how does one make a de­ci­sion to get the most safety fea­tures for the money spent? To an­swer the ques­tion, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s re­searchers de­vel­oped a weighted point­based sys­tem that awards safety points for any safety equip­ment fit­ted other than a seat belt and head re­straint, and gave points for anti-lock brakes, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and air bags. Ad­di­tional points were al­lo­cated for cars that had sub­mit­ted to the crash tests in Europe’s New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gramme

The AA chose R150 000 as the bud­get bench­mark for its safety test be­cause with a 10% de­posit, fi­nanced over 72 months at an in­ter­est rate of 12%, a fam­ily can ex­pect to pay a monthly in­stal­ment of some R2 500. A vari­ance of around R10 000 on the ve­hi­cle’s pur­chase price will add or re­move roughly R166 from the monthly in­stal­ment costs.

(Euro NCap).

On the AA’s weighted sys­tem, a car with all safety fea­tures in­stalled can score a max­i­mum of 135 points. Us­ing the points al­lo­cated, a “Safety/Af­ford­abil­ity” in­dex was cre­ated to draw a com­par­i­son of the safety fea­tures one can buy in terms of ev­ery R10 000 spent.

With many crit­ics of air bags — Wheels in­cluded — hav­ing pointed out the deaths and in­juries caused by these bombs in the dash­board (not to men­tion the cur­rent mas­sive world­wide re­call to fix many mil­lions of Takata air bags), the AA stressed “scores were awarded merely on the face value of air bags in­stalled, de­spite var­i­ous safety fea­tures con­tribut­ing dif­fer­ently in terms of fa­tal­ity/ in­jury pre­ven­tion in a crash”.

Ac­cord­ing to the AA’s sys­tem, only the Citroën C1 Vti Feel scored for hav­ing both ABS and air bags in­stalled as well as get­ting four stars out of a pos­si­ble five in the Euro NCap tests.

The C1, in fact, only lost points be­cause it got four out of the pos­si­ble five stars on a 2014 Euro NCap crash test, which gives the Citroën C1 and the Toy­ota Aygo 80% for adult and child oc­cu­pant pro­tec­tion, 61% for pedes­trian safety and 65% for safety as­sist.

The su­per mi­nis badged as the Citroën C1, Toy­ota Aygo and Peu­geot 108 are all built on the same plat­form at the Toy­ota-Peu­geot-Citroën

AA’s top 4 ac­cept­able bud­get cars

Citroën C1 Vti Feel Re­nault San­dero Ex­pres­sion FAW V2 1.3 DLX FAW V2 1.3 #Like

AA’s top 8 ‘mod­er­ately safe’ bud­get cars

Suzuki Cele­rio 1.0 GA Chevro­let Spark 1.2 Cam­pus Suzuki Swift Hatch 1,2 GA Suzuki Cele­rio 1.0 GL Mit­subishi Mi­rage 1,2 GL Honda Brio Hatch 1,2 Trend Chevro­let Spark 1.2 L Ch­ery J2 1,5 TX Au­to­mo­bile Czech (TPCA) joint ven­ture in Kolín in the Czech Repub­lic.

The 108 used to be the 107, and is no longer on sale in SA, while Toy­ota re­tails the Aygo for R155 k, caus­ing the re­branded C1 to miss the AA’s bud­get.

Re­nault San­dero Ex­pres­sion was sec­ond on the AA’s list, fol­lowed by the FAW V2 in third and the Suzuki Cele­rio in fourth place.

An­other sig­nif­i­cant dis­cov­ery was that five of the mod­els un­der con­sid­er­a­tion had none of the iden­ti­fied safety fea­tures in­stalled. These are Geely GC2, Ch­ery QQ, Dat­sun Go, Tata Indica and Tata Vista.



The Re­nault San­dero scored sec­ond high­est for safety sys­tems on the AA’s list of bud­get cars, and the dirt-road-eat­ing Step­way re­mains Wheels’s rec­om­mended bud­get buy in this sta­ble.


The Toy­ota Aygo af­ter the stan­dard 50 km/h side im­pact test in the Euro New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gramme. The Aygo and the Citroën C1 share the same plat­form, which re­quires a roll cage to pro­tect the driver, as this in­set of a C1 af­ter som­er­sault­ing in a high-speed crash dur­ing a Ger­man rally, shows.

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