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Surprising results for latest Euro NCAP safety tests

Four end: Mazda's CX-3 compact SUV scored a four-star rating in European NCAP safety testing, but the results of a second test conducted in Australia will be released soon.

Volvo XC90 scores maximum Euro NCAP Safety Assist rating but 4 stars for Mazda CX-3


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4 Sep 2015

VOLVO has reaffirmed its reputation as a safety leader with its XC90 large SUV scoring an unbeatable 100 per cent Safety Assist rating in the latest round of European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) crash safety tests.

With its generous selection of driver assistance equipment and active safety features, the seven-seater not only scored top marks in the category but also took out the maximum overall score of five stars.

The XC90 also scored highly in the Adult Occupant category with a 97 per cent result with no areas of protection rated lower than “adequate” and a majority of occupant protection scoring in the “good” region.

With Isofix child seat anchors for only two seats in the second row, the XC90 scored 87 per cent for child occupant protection, but crash protection for little ones and ease of child seat installation was rated as good.

Unlike the smaller Volvo V40, the XC90 does not have an active bonnet to mitigate pedestrian impact injury, but pedestrian protection was rated at 72 per cent with a good or adequate score for all areas apart from the pelvis, which was deemed poor.

While the Volvo fared well in all areas of testing, its autonomous and driver assistance systems boosted the score significantly, with NCAP increasingly commending vehicles that can brake for themselves.

Mazda's popular CX-3 is not fitted with autonomous braking as standard and subsequently suffered in the Safety Assist category with a 64 per cent score, dragging its overall star rating to four.

In the CX-3 final safety report NCAP said “An autonomous emergency braking system for the speeds typical of highway driving is available as an option but is not expected to be fitted enough vehicles to qualify for assessment.”

The compact SUV did fare better in other areas with an 85 per cent score in Adult Occupant protection. A weak rating for rear passengers in the frontal full width collision test prevented a higher score, while Child Occupant protection was rated at 79 per cent.

Pedestrian safety was reported as good overall and an 84 per cent result, with only a mixed result for pelvic areas and the base of each A-pillar rating as poor.

Mazda Australia was unable to comment in any detail regarding the result, but did confirm that the compact SUV would be tested by the local branch of NCAP, the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

“The Mazda CX-3 has been submitted for ANCAP crash test evaluation,” said Mazda Australia senior public relations manager Karla Leach. “ANCAP will release the results in the near future.”

Mrs Leach was not able to comment on whether a different result was expected from the local tests, but, as previously reported, ANCAP has come under fire from car-makers and media for apparent differences between the European testing standards and the Australian system.

Like the XC90, Audi's large SUV, the all-new Q7 also managed a maximum five-star safety rating thanks to an array of standard safety kit, combined with high levels of occupant impact protection.

A marginal score for driver's chest area in both frontal offset barrier and frontal full width was the lowest result, with all adult passengers rated as having either adequate or good protection for an overall 94 per cent result.

Child occupant protection is slightly lower but still a commendable 88 per cent score thanks to Isofix anchors in all three second row seats and optional child seat fixing point for both third-row seats.

Safety Assist scored well below the Volvo's 100 per cent result with the Q7 managing a 76 per cent mark. NCAP's report said the Audi could have picked up extra marks if the optional lane-departure warning and assistance was fitted as standard.

With an active bonnet, the Audi offers good pedestrian protection in upper surface contact, but like the Volvo, its leading edge is the most damaging with a poor rating in the pelvis area.

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