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Four ANCAP stars for Haval H9

Whip it good: Haval's H9 performed well in the whiplash test, but a score of 12.05 out of 16 let it down in frontal offset testing.

Haval's H9 flagship SUV falls short in latest ANCAP safety tests

General News logo25 May 2016

UPDATED 9:30amLUXURY SUV newcomer Haval has failed to score the maximum five-star rating in the latest round of Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) tests after its H9 range-topping 4WD put in an under-par performance in the critical frontal offset test.

To be eligible for the coveted five stars, vehicles must score a minimum of 12.5 points out of 16 in the crash, but with marginal leg protection and a slight risk of chest injury for the driver, Haval's largest model only managed 12.05 points, dragging its rating down to four stars.

In response to the ANCAP result, the Chinese car-maker said it was very surprised that its H9 did not score the maximum five stars and that it had narrowly missed out on the required score.

"Our engineers have been working very hard to deliver a five-star safety rating and all our testing indicated that we would achieve this result. The results of the ANCAP test were clearly unexpected," said Haval Motors Australia spokesperson Andrew Ellis.

Haval’s vice president of global R&D Suguya Fukusato said ANCAP's results would be studied and the company would be striving for a better score in the future.

"Our engineers are now analysing all the data from the tests, so we can achieve the five star result our customers demand and that we as a company expect".

Mr Ellis said safety would never be an option at Haval and the company would be looking to retest the H9.

The ANCAP test is the first independent assessment of an H9 in the world and the first of Haval's models to be tested by the vehicle safety body, which is not a good look for the brand, said ANCAP CEO James Goodwin.

“The H9 is being marketed as a premium offering from China’s highest-selling SUV brand and we would expect a vehicle in this price range to offer a greater range of advanced safety features and improved crash performance,” he said.

Mr Goodwin explained that competition is fierce in the large SUV market, especially at the more premium end of the spectrum where Haval markets itself, but he hoped the poor result would encourage all brands to aim higher in the home-grown safety program.

“The large SUV category is extremely competitive and there are now five-star options from almost all brands at varying price points.

“It’s hoped this process draws new entrants’ attention to the importance of safety and a five-star rating in Australia,” he said.

With insufficient points to net a five-star result, the H9 was not subjected to the later pole test, which would not have resulted in a higher star rating regardless of the score out of 2.0 points, but in all other areas the Haval put in a more respectable performance.

In the side impact test, the Haval managed a full 16 out of 16, whiplash protection was summarised as 'good', and advanced seat belt reminders for front and second row seating earned the H9 2.6 points out of 3.0. Seat belt warnings for the third row would have pushed that score higher.

Pedestrian safety was rated as acceptable, with generally low potential for injury in most bonnet and bumper areas, as reflected by a 22.27 out of 36 score.

Central bonnet areas and a majority of the bumper surface were rated as good or acceptable for pedestrian safety and only the leading edge of the bonnet was assessed as poor, due to its height and potential to injure child pedestrians.

Extra praise was offered for standard dual frontal airbags and head-protecting curtain airbags for occupants in all three rows of seating.

Reverse collision avoidance and driver fatigue detection also earned the H9 brownie points, but the lack of autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning/assistance, which is offered in many of the model's rivals was criticised by ANCAP.

“New vehicle buyers have come to expect five-star safety from new models and unfortunately this result falls short of marketplace expectations,” said Mr Goodwin.

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