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ANCAP: Four-star blow for Holden, Isuzu Ute
That hurts: Isuzu’s D-Max ute earned four stars in Euro NCAP testing that has been rubber-stamped for the Australian market.
Isuzu D-Max and some Holden Colorados miss top safety rating in ANCAP tests
11 October 2012
HOLDEN and Isuzu have defended the safety performance of their related Colorado and D-Max utes after some variants were awarded only four stars by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) last night – a blow that could cost them fleet sales.
The failure to make the five-star grade has been blamed on the lack of dual pretensioners on the front seatbelts of the Colorado single cab and space cab workhorse models and Isuzu’s flagship D-Max crew cab.
This meant that these models equipped with a single pretensioner on each front seat are deemed to have missed ANCAP’s minimum standard of adult occupant protection in the frontal offset impact test, with driver chest protection being rated as ‘marginal’.
By contrast, Holden’s flagship four-door Colorado crew cab that is equipped with dual pretensioners for front-seat occupants was awarded five stars and an ‘acceptable’ driver chest deflection score when it was launched in July.
An increasing number of major fleets – led by mining giant BHP Billiton – exclude four-star models under their five-star safety buying policies.
All Mazda BT-50 variants and Volkswagen Amaroks in Australia are rated five-star, as are all Ford Ranger models except the base 4x2 single-cab cab-chassis, which does not have side curtain airbags
From top: Holden Colorado crew cab ANCAP crash test; Colorado single cab.
Toyota has promised to upgrade its top-selling HiLux to five-star standard across the range next year to make sure it qualifies for the new rules laid down by some of its biggest fleet customers.
The Isuzu ute crash test results were based on recent European NCAP crash tests, while the Colorado single/space cab rating was an assessment based on the crew-cab crash testing done at Sydney’s Crashlab for ANCAP.
ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh was critical of the four-star performance of the Isuzu D-Max and Colorado single and space cab variants, describing it as disappointing.
But Holden defended its Colorado, issuing a statement saying: “We’re 100 per cent confident in the real-world safety of the Holden Colorado.
“The single and space cab models still boast the comprehensive list of active and passive features of the crew cab, including electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), driver and front passenger airbags and full-length curtain airbags.
“A four-star rating is a highly respectable result, particularly for a light commercial vehicle.”
Holden says it has no immediate plans to upgrade the Colorado models to help them achieve five stars, although it said it had an ongoing commitment to improved safety.
Isuzu Ute Australia indicated Isuzu engineers were working on the issue.
“Isuzu Ute Australia is addressing this latest development and will release further information regarding the timing of their endeavour to achieve a five-star ANCAP rating for the D-Max shortly,” the company said in a statement.
Isuzu pointed out that the D-Max had out-pointed the highly rated VW Amarok in some of the Euro NCAP safety tests, including child occupant protection (67 per cent to 64 per cent), pedestrian safety (51 per cent to 47 per cent) and safety assistance technology (71 per cent to 57 per cent).
“The only area in which the Amarok rated higher (than D-Max) was adult occupant protection, scoring 86 per cent versus the Isuzu D-Max’s 83 per cent,” the company statement said.
Euro NCAP deemed the Amarok a four-star vehicle, but ANCAP rated it five stars.
Isuzu Ute had hoped to get the same treatment on the strength of its overall higher score, but it was not to be.
The previous D-Max was given only three stars, as was the previous generation of the closely related Holden Colorado.
This time, the two models have greater differentiation including unique sheetmetal and drivetrains, but they are built on the same platform.
ANCAP criticised the pedestrian protection rating of the Colorado and D-Max, saying it wanted to see all vehicle manufacturers “targeting the top level of pedestrian protection to reduce injuries to unprotected road users”.
According to the ANCAP results, Colorado’s pedestrian protection result was rated as ‘acceptable’ while the D-Max was given a ‘marginal’ rating.
Only last week, Holden received the blessing of ANCAP to rate its Colorado crew cab five stars when equipped with its genuine accessory bull bar, even through it has not been rated for pedestrian performance.