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VW Polo, Lexus pair gain top crash rating

Crash course: Volkswagen’s Polo, and the Lexus CT200h and IS range have earned the crash safety watchdog’s praise – as well as a slap on the wrist.

Top marks for crash safety come despite technology gaps in range

General News logo19 Aug 2014


VOLKSWAGEN’S Polo city hatchback, the Lexus CT200h hybrid hatch and the Lexus IS small sedan have all received a top five-star crash rating in the latest round of Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) assessments.

However, the crash safety watchdog’s rating did not come without a slap on the wrist for both car-makers for not letting potentially lifesaving electronic driver aids such as autonomous emergency braking to trickle down to base models.

The results now mean the Polo has held a top safety rating since 2010, the facelifted CT200h since 2011 and the IS range since 2005.

While the Polo was praised for its result – ANCAP noted safety assist technologies such as emergency stop signal and secondary brake collision assist were standard – added safety features such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control (ACC), fatigue detection and reversing collision avoidance were unavailable on the base-model Polo.

Likewise, ANCAP said ACC and AEB were not available on the entry-level Lexus CT200h. In contrast, the Lexus IS range was praised for achieving top whiplash protection and pedestrian protection scores.

“All IS variants have an 'active' bonnet which, when involved in a collision with a pedestrian, rises to provide additional clearance between the surface of the bonnet and the engine to protect the head of the struck pedestrian,” ANCAP said.

However, it wasn’t all good news, with ANCAP slapping Lexus for only including AEB, ACC, lane support systems and blind spot monitoring on more expensive versions of the IS.

“Each of these models offer a respectable range of safety assist technologies,” ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said.

“However, as with a number of other vehicles we've tested recently, we are continuing to see the majority of these important technologies either being withheld from base variants or not available at all," he said.

"If we are to see a significant drop in the number of lives lost on our roads, these technologies need to be provided to all.

“Safety should not be seen as luxury or added extra," Mr McIntosh said.

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