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Five stars for Kia Sorento & Land Rover Defender

Kia Sorento sets safety assist tech benchmark in latest round of ANCAP test results

10 Dec 2020

THE Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has handed down maximum five-star crash-test safety ratings for the latest Kia Sorento and Land Rover Defender large SUVs, both of which launched Down Under in August this year.


A standout result was the Kia’s 89 per cent score in the Safety Assist category, setting a new benchmark under stringent new ANCAP test criteria introduced this year. The Defender scored 76 per cent in the same category.


The Sorento’s score places it in the all-time top five for Safety Assist, behind the Volvo XC60, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model 3 and Volvo S90 that all scored more than 90 per cent for technologies assessed for effectiveness in their ability to avoid or reduce the severity of accidents, albeit against superseded criteria.


ANCAP communications and advocacy director Rhianne Robson said the new Sorento “introduces a number of new features to the large SUV segment”.


Ms Robson highlighted the Kia’s advanced autonomous emergency braking system that can prevent collisions when turning in front of another vehicle and standard fitment of a driver monitoring system.


In an unavoidable accident the Defender outgunned the Sorento, achieving an 85 per cent score for adult occupant protection against the Kia’s 82 per cent and 88 per cent for child occupant protection (Sorento: 85 per cent).


The Land Rover was also deemed to offer superior vulnerable road user protection, achieving 71 per cent in this category to the Sorento’s 63 per cent.


In contrast with the Defender, Ms Robson said that for vehicle-to-vehicle collisions the Sorento exhibited “good levels of compatibility with other vehicles” for its size and mass, reducing the risk of injury to occupants of vehicles involved in a crash with Kia’s latest seven-seat SUV.


“The front structure of the Defender presents a higher risk to occupants of an oncoming vehicle in a crash, and as a result, its score in the frontal offset test was reduced,” she said.


Despite the Sorento being sold with a third row of seats as standard and these being optional on the Defender, only the latter is fitted with side curtain airbags for third-row occupants.


ANCAP’s technical report notes the Sorento’s lack of third-row airbag protection but current testing criteria does not assess or rate adult or child occupant protection for third-row passengers, so the effectiveness or otherwise of airbags in this part of a vehicle is unknown.


What ANCAP does test is the ability and ease of fitting child seats where anchorages are supplied and the new Sorento does have both ISOFIX and top tether anchorages for installing child seats in the third row, which the Land Rover lacks.


Harsher physical crash protection assessments introduced for 2020 uncovered ‘weak’ protection for the driver’s chest and upper legs when the Sorento was subjected to the 50km/h frontal offset test, with driver and front passenger leg protection also rated ‘marginal’.


The Defender was rated ‘adequate’ for driver chest and lower leg protection, with upper leg protection for both front occupants deemed ‘marginal’ due to dashboard structures being “a potential source of injury” while all other body areas got full points for protection.


Maximum points were awarded to the Sorento for head and neck protection for both front occupants plus the passenger’s chest and lower legs. 


A moderate 1.39-point deduction was made for the risk to occupants of an oncoming vehicle in a collision with the Kia, while the Land Rover copped the full four-point deduction for the higher risk it posed to occupants of an oncoming vehicle.


The 50km/h full-width frontal test found chest protection for the driver and rear passengers of a Sorento to be ‘adequate’, a rating also applied to rear passenger neck protection while all areas scored full points. 


The oblique pole impact test also resulted in ‘adequate’ protection for the Sorento driver’s chest but top scores for all other areas and the side impact test was completed with maximum points.


For Defender occupants, the full-width frontal test revealed ‘marginal’ protection for the rear passenger’s chest and high or perfect scores for protection of all other body areas. The Land Rover aced both the side impact and oblique pole tests with maximum points.


The presence of an airbag between the Sorento’s front seats also resulted in no penalty for occupant-to-occupant collisions in the far side impact tests, for which it was given a perfect score. 


Top marks were also added for front occupant whiplash protection, with 0.69 out of a maximum one point for rear occupants.


Defender occupants fared worse in the oblique pole section of the far side impact test, scoring ‘adequate’ for all body areas apart from upper leg. 


No points were awarded for occupant-to-occupant protection due to the lack of centre airbag while its whiplash protection was the inverse of the Sorento, scoring maximum points for rear occupants and 2.81 out of a maximum 3.0 for those up front.


Child occupant protection in the Sorento got full points in the side impact test while neck protection for the dummy representing a 10-year-old child was rated ‘adequate’ in the frontal offset test. Child restraint installation got 11.2 points out of a maximum 12 and on-board safety features were rated 8.0 out of 13.


Meanwhile the Defender aced child occupant protection in physical crash testing and scored a slightly higher 11.22 out of 12 than the Sorento plus the same 8.0 out of 13 for on-board safety features.


These ANCAP ratings apply to all four-cylinder diesel variants of the Sorento and all four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel variants of the Defender 110.


Ms Robson told GoAuto that ANCAP was waiting on technical data to assess crash performance of six-cylinder petrol Sorento variants and plans to update the Defender rating with short wheelbase 90 and commercial variants in the new year.


Other five-star performers under this year’s tougher new ANCAP testing criteria comprise the Toyota’s Yaris light car and co-developed Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 utes.


The Yaris scored 86 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 78 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and 87 per cent for safety assist.


Being physically and technically similar, both the Isuzu and Mazda utes scored 83 per cent for adult occupant protection, 89 per cent for child occupant protection and 84 per cent for safety assist.


The Mazda’s 67 per cent score for vulnerable road user protection was two percentage points lower than the Isuzu’s due to its nose design posing a slightly greater risk of injury in pedestrian impacts.

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