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Five ANCAP stars for Volt, Q3 and Megane

Test and tag: ANCAP believes consumers are interested in the safety implications of driving electrified vehicles like the Holden Volt.

Holden Volt, Audi Q3, Renault Megane and NZ Nissan Juke score five ANCAP stars

30 Aug 2012

THE Holden Volt range-extender electric car, Audi Q3 luxury SUV and Renault Megane small hatch have received a maximum five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Five stars were also awarded to the quirky Nissan Juke crossover, which is a prospect for Australia and launched in New Zealand earlier this year, while the Suzuki Splash light car – launched in New Zealand a year ago and also under consideration for Australia – was awarded four stars.

All results were based on the vehicles' performance in testing conducted by Euro NCAP and in the case of the Volt, ENCAP tested the left-hand-drive Opel Ampera, which ANCAP deemed similar enough to the Volt to apply the same rating.

The Volt, which will hit Australian showrooms in November, becomes the second electric car sold here with the maximum ANCAP rating after the Nissan Leaf – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV scored four stars – and the Volt's occupant protection score of 34.56 out of 37 trumped the Leaf's 33.62.

Both Volt and Leaf achieve similar overall scores for occupant protection in the offset crash test – the Leaf losing points for 'marginal' upper leg protection while the Volt was 'marginal' for the driver's right lower leg – and both received maximum scores for side impact.

80 center imageFrom top: Euro NCAP tests for Audi Q3 and Renault Megane Nissan Leaf hatch.

In the pedestrian protection test, the Volt's 'marginal' score of 14.9 out of 36 was bettered by the Leaf, which scored an 'acceptable' 23.38, due to the Volt's poor performance in the areas of adult head and upper leg impacts – although the Holden scored slightly higher than the Nissan in the areas of child head impact and lower leg impact.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh believes the increasing availability of electrified vehicles is leading to increased consumers interest in “any additional safety concerns regarding these vehicles when involved in a crash”.

“Battery-powered vehicles present a different challenge to manufacturers when incorporating crash protection into their designs however the crash protection provided by the Volt is on par with our traditionally-powered models.” In addition to the impact-absorbing crash structures and eight airbags that earned it five ANCAP stars, the Volt will be sold in Australia with collision-prevention technology including lane departure warning and a system that alerts the driver if they get too close to the vehicle in front.

Front and rear parking sensors will be backed up by reversing camera, and the Volt will come with the full complement of electronic safety aids including stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution and an electric parking brake.

The Audi Q3 scored 35.15 out of 37 overall, scoring significantly higher than the Volt and Leaf in the offset crash test, with all parts of the driver and passenger bodies receiving 'good' or 'acceptable' levels of protection, but opening the Q3's doors after the impact required “high manual effort”.

Pedestrian protection from the Q3 was deemed 'acceptable' with a score of 18.78, although upper leg and adult head impact performance was poor.

The Renault Megane was the occupant safety pick of the bunch with 35.83 out of 37 overall, with an almost perfect 15.83 score in the offset crash test and only the driver's chest gaining an 'acceptable' rather than 'good' protection rating.

After the front offset test the Megane's doors could be opened with “normal” effort but pedestrian protection was a weak point, rated 'marginal' with particularly low scores for child head impacts and upper leg impacts.

As well as posing no knee hazards in the frontal offset crash test, the Volt, Q3 and Megane all scored maximum points for the side impact and pole tests.

Nissan's New Zealand market Juke scored 33.03 out of 37 overall with 13.69 out of 16 in the offset crash test, which revealed 'marginal' protection for the passenger's upper legs and driver's upper right leg.

The driver's upper left leg, passenger lower left leg and both chests were provided 'acceptable' protection, with the driver's door requiring “high manual effort” to open afterwards.

Dashboard components were a potential source of knee injury for both front occupants and the steering wheel hub moved 101mm downward and 23mm forward in the impact, causing a potential source of injury to the driver's knees.

A score of 15.34 out of 16 in the side impact test was attributed to a slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver, which was deemed to receive 'acceptable' protection.

The pole test yielded a maximum score but pedestrian protection was marginal, with low scores for adult head and upper leg impacts resulting in a result of 14.69 out of 36.

The Suzuki Splash was also rated for the New Zealand market, its occupant protection score of 29.6 out of 37 sufficient for a four-star rating.

In the frontal offset test the Splash scored 13.1 out of 16, providing 'marginal' protection for the upper legs of driver and passenger and 'acceptable' chest protection.

The dashboard was a potential source of knee injury to the driver and passenger, the centre console was a potential injury source for the passenger's knee and the steering column, which moved 40mm downward and 22mm sideways, was a potential knee injury hazard to the driver.

In the side impact test the Splash got 15.5 out of 16, again providing the driver with 'acceptable' test protection.

Pedestrian protection was 'acceptable' with all but the upper leg impact test scoring well.

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