Price vs safety

Lit­tle Chi­nese hatch of­fers best com­pro­mise in AA’s new re­port

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

THE Ch­ery QQ3 1,1 TXE, which re­tails for only R140 700, of­fers the best com­pro­mise be­tween low price and safety fea­tures in the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion (AA) sec­ond an­nual En­try-Level Ve­hi­cle Safety Re­port.

The lit­tle Chi­nese hatch re­ceived an “ac­cept­able” safety score among its af­ford­able peers.

The re­port con­sid­ered the safety fea­tures of 25 small hatches cur­rently re­tail­ing for un­der R160 000 in SA.

In terms of the num­ber of safety fea­tures, the Toy­ota Aygo and Nis­san Mi­cra 1,2 Visia+ scored over 50 points, with the Re­nault Kwid 1,0 Ex­pres­sion, Kia Pi­cant 1,0 Start and Dat­sun Go+ 1,2 Lux top­ping the poor safety rat­ing. The Ch­ery scored only mod­er­ately, ahead of the Chevro­let Spark 1,2 Curve and Mitsubishi Mi­rage 1,2 GL.

The AA said in a state­ment price re­mains main driv­ing fac­tor in peo­ple’s de­ci­sions to buy ve­hi­cles and the re­port aimed to high­light the im­por­tance of safety fea­tures in new cars and en­cour­age car buy­ers to con­sider safety — not only price — to avoid adding to last year’s death toll on SA’s roads of 14 071 peo­ple.

The as­so­ci­a­tion notes this is es­pe­cially im­por­tant as many of the peo­ple who are buy­ing or driv­ing en­trylevel ve­hi­cles are of­ten those with the least driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and, as such, this makes safety fea­tures even more crit­i­cal.

The AA said it was dis­ap­point­ing that ve­hi­cles listed in last year’s re­port, most of which are still on sale, carry sim­i­lar, if not the same, limited safety equip­ment as stan­dard.

The 25 ve­hi­cles sur­veyed for the sec­ond in­stal­ment of the En­try-Level Ve­hi­cle Safety Re­port were eval­u­ated against the num­ber of ac­tive safety fea­tures they have (anti-lock brak­ing sys­tems, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol), and pas­sive safety fea­tures (airbags).

The AA said none of the cheap hatches had elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol (ESC), which could save lives in roads with poor drainage where sand and de­bris pile up on the road sur­face.

A com­mend­able find­ing, how­ever, is that 11 of the 25 iden­ti­fied ve­hi­cles have ABS and elec­tronic brake-force dis­tri­bu­tion (EBD) in­stalled — a pos­i­tive step to­wards in­creas­ing the over­all safety of ve­hi­cles.

None of the ve­hi­cles in this year’s sam­ple was crash-tested by the EURO New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gramme (NCAP), which the AA only uses if the mod­els sold in SA are iden­ti­cal to the one tested in Europe.

In­stead, the AA uses a point-based sys­tem with weights al­lo­cated to safety fea­tures.

Ac­tive safety fea­tures such as ABS and ESC were given the most sig­nif­i­cant weights (30 points each), while each airbag scored 10.

The only ex­cep­tion is the cur­tain airbag, which scores 20 points, as stud­ies show these airbags can dra­mat­i­cally re­duce life threat­en­ing head in­juries by up to 50%.

The sur­vey is the re­sult of desk­top re­search, and specif­i­cally as­sesses safety fea­tures only. It does not con­sider the struc­tural in­tegrity of the driver/pas­sen­ger com­part­ment.

The 25 ve­hi­cles are then cat­e­gorised into three groups based on their safety rat­ings ac­cord­ing to the AA sur­vey. These cars are noted for hav­ing ei­ther: •Ac­cept­able safety, •Mod­er­ate safety, or, •Poor safety.

• A full list of the ve­hi­cles as­sessed, their safety rat­ings, and their Safety/ Af­ford­abil­ity scores, is avail­able at­port. — WR.


Seven young peo­ple died in this hatch when the driver was in­volved in a head-on col­li­sion in Lim­popo. The AA urges peo­ple to look at safety, not sav­ings when buy­ing a car.

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