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Nine vehicles score five-star ANCAP rating

Top performer: Nissan’s Altima sedan scored top marks in the latest round of ANCAP testing.

Light-commercial vehicles among top-scorers in final ANCAP testing for the year

General News logo20 Dec 2013

NINE vehicles have scored top marks in the final round of crash safety tests from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) for the year, including a boost from four stars for Toyota’s HiLux 4x4 dual-cab.

Toyota’s top score follows the increase from four to five stars of the all-wheel drive single-cab and extra-cab variants in September after the inclusion of safety extra equipment. Other HiLux versions retain a four-star crash rating.

Toyota had fallen behind the light-commercial pack in recent years with Ford’s locally engineered Ranger, its Mazda BT-50 twin, Holden’s Colorado and the Volkswagen Amarok all scoring a maximum five-star rating, boosting their appeal with commercial fleet customers.

Safety improvements that helped boost the HiLux’s rating included the addition of seat-belt reminders, improved knee protection and a successful side pole impact test.

Isuzu also achieved full marks for its light-commercial offering, the D-Max 4x4 crew-cab, with a score of 30.48 out a maximum 37. This is an increase from the D-Max’s Euro NCAP rating of four stars when it launched in August 2012.

The D-Max lost points for passenger leg protection and ANCAP said in its report that protection from serious chest and leg injury was also marginal.

The Japanese brand also received a five-star rating for its mechanically related seven-seat MU-X off-roader.

Ford’s EcoSport and Suzuki’s S-Cross compact crossovers both scored five stars, as did the Fiat Panda light hatch.

German luxury car-maker Mercedes-Benz was awarded top marks for its sleek CLA small sedan, while Nissan’s Pulsar hatch matched its booted sibling with a five-star rating, as did the recently launched Altima mid-sizer.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said there was an exceptional range of five-star rated vehicles available across a broad range of categories and reminded people to stay safe this holiday season.

“The holidays are a time to relax, refresh and reinvigorate for the New Year,” he said. “Sadly, the good cheer and happy times are often destroyed by tragedy on the road. Don’t let the anticipation of and preparation for the holidays and festive season distract you from taking the utmost care when you head out onto the road.

“Recognise the risks of and be alert to changing conditions: there will be heavier traffic and road works you may become distracted or fatigued weather may change suddenly you may be travelling at an inappropriate speed or too close to the car in front. If you recognise these risks you are part way to avoiding them altogether.

“With car safety improving, we are making progress in road safety and there is plenty more to come. Your next car may well have such sophisticated autonomous technology that it will become increasingly difficult to have a crash and what a wonderful day that will be.” Meanwhile, lobbyists for US and European car-makers have this week engaged the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and a transportation research group at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden to try and find commonalities between the current US crash rating system and the system used by countries in the European Union.

Car-makers from both regions have suggested that if the process was standardised, it could save hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to re-engineer global car platforms for different markets.

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