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ANCAP: Mazda CX-8 breaks new ground

Breakthrough: Mazda’s CX-8 hits the wall at Crashlab, becoming the first locally tested vehicle to score a five-star rating under new, more stringent ANCAP tests.

Mazda CX-8, Volvo XC40 first to get five stars under tough new ANCAP regime


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19 Jul 2018

MAZDA’S new CX-8 large SUV has become the first locally tested vehicle to clear the recently raised bar for a five-star rating under the Australasian New Car Assessment Program’s (ANCAP) 2018 protocols.
Crash tested across three local test centres last month, the CX-8 ticked the boxes for the new-look European-developed test regime that not only ramps up crash test severity but also places more emphasis on crash avoidance technologies.
Although ANCAP is planning to test vehicles for crash-avoidance at South Australia’s Centre for Automotive Safety and Research at the former Mitsubishi proving ground at Tailem Bend, the CX-8 was put through its paces at a French test centre centre because the local capability is not quite ready.
Volvo’s new XC40 small SUV also scored five stars in the latest round of ANCAP results after local engineers rubber-stamped Euro NCAP results for the vehicle announced on July 11.
Because the CX-8 has not been tested in Europe, ANCAP did the testing itself in Australia, smashing four CX-8s in full frontal, frontal offset, side impact and side pole crash testing.
The big seven-seater that went on sale in Australia this month scored a handy 96 per cent for adult occupant protection – 36.7 points out of 38. Child protection was rated as 87 per cent, while pedestrian protection was 72 per cent.
Armed with new electronic aids such as autonomous emergency braking – including “vulnerable road user” braking – and lane keep assist, the CX-8 received a 73 per cent score in the upgraded safety assistance category.
Volvo’s new baby SUV went one better in adult protection – 97 per cent – and matched the Mazda in child protection (87 per cent).
The XC40’s safety assist score was 76 per cent, slightly above the Mazda rating.
Under the European protocols now also adopted in Australia, cars are tested in a staggering 100 scenarios, including detecting and avoiding collision with others vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in a number of positions and situations at day and night.
Lane keep assist, emergency lane keeping, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring are also tested, among other things.
ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin said the hurdles had been raised significantly for vehicles tested in 2018.
“We now test and rate against four key pillars of assessment, and across these we have implemented a range of enhancements to encourage vehicle manufacturers to improve the active and passive safety elements of their models,” he said.
“Most notably, we’re looking at the performance and effectiveness of active safety assist technologies, and the ability of a vehicle to protect a broader range of occupants, including children and females.
“Parents of young children will know that not all vehicles have the ability to safely fit child restraints in all seating positions. To assist, child restraint installation now forms part of each rating.
“We are assessing the correct installation of a range of commonly available restraints – from newborn to 10 years – in each of the rear seating positions, and six-year and 10-year child dummies now feature in our physical crash tests.”
Mr Goodwin said it was encouraging to see Mazda and Volvo set the standard, with their CX-8 and XC40 models being the first to step up and achieve five stars against ANCAP’s increased test standards.
“Good levels of performance were achieved by the CX-8 in the area of child occupant protection, with our assessment engineers praising its ability to safely accommodate child restraints in all five rear seating positions.”
The five-star ANCAP safety rating applies to all Mazda CX-8 variants, but the XC40 rating applies only to all-wheel-drive variants as the front-wheel-drive T4 has not been tested.

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