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ANCAP: Vitara and Optima score five

Optimal result: The Korean-built Kia Optima scored well in most areas but lost some ground in the pedestrian protection test.

Suzuki Vitara and Kia Optima grab five stars in latest ANCAP tests

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General News logo14 Jul 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

SUZUKI’S popular Vitara crossover and the Kia Optima mid-size sedan are the latest models to have picked up the maximum five star crash safety rating in the most recent round of testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The Hungarian-built Vitara went on sale in September last year and, according to ANCAP chief executive officer James Goodwin, was the best-selling model in Australia that did not yet have a safety rating.

“We’ve today awarded the maximum five star ANCAP safety rating for the Suzuki Vitara which is a real boost for consumers and Suzuki,” he said.

“Until now, the Vitara was ranked as the top-selling unrated model across all passenger, SUV and light-commercial vehicles in both Australia and New Zealand.

“The Vitara performed well in physical crash testing and includes reversing collision avoidance and a manual speed limiter as standard.”

The Suzuki scored a total of 35.79 out of a possible 37 points, achieving top marks for the side impact and pole test as well as whiplash protection and losing less than a point in the frontal offset test.

For the pedestrian protection test, ANCAP scored the Vitara 28.60 out of a possible 36 points, with “good” protection for most locations, while protection at the base of the windscreen pillar and near the headlights “performed poorly”, according to the safety watchdog.

Safety gear on the Vitara includes dual front, side chest, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag, seatbelt reminders, ABS, emergency brake assist and a reverse collision avoidance system, but full autonomous emergency braking is not offered on the car in Australia.

The rating for the Vitara is for all front-wheel drive, non-turbo models.

Turbo-petrol versions and a diesel variant have only recently gone on sale in Australia.

The five-star rating for the South Korean-sourced Optima that launched in November is for both sedan variants and the test was originally conducted by Euro NCAP and adapted for the Australian-market model.

“This opens the door for families and fleet buyers in the market for a replacement medium-size passenger car with top safety credentials,” Mr Goodwin said.

“The Optima provides a high level of standard active safety features including all three grades of autonomous emergency braking, and demonstrated good performance in all crash and safety assist performance tests.”

The Optima scored full marks in the side impact pole test and lost less than one point in the frontal offset test, while whiplash protection was only rated as marginal.

Pedestrian protection was rated as “acceptable” for the Optima, with “good” protection for pedestrian’s legs, while pelvis protection was “mixed”.

“The bonnet offered mostly good or adequate protection to the head of a struck pedestrian, with weak and poor results recorded along the base of the windscreen and on the stiff windscreen pillars,” ANCAP says in its safety report.

The Optima was praised for its standard safety gear, which includes autonomous emergency braking, dual frontal, side chest and side curtain airbags, adaptive cruise control and lane support systems.

Mr Goodwin said while the safety watchdog was pleased that so many vehicles on sale in Australia have been rated, there was work to be done on the remaining models that are yet to receive an ANCAP score.

“The inclusion of these two models in the now lengthy list of vehicles rated by ANCAP sees our coverage of the market grow to 93 per cent,” he said.

“Our focus of late has been to target models which have sat unrated for some time and we will continue this focus over coming months in parallel with our usual program of rating new models entering the market.”

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