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Ute crash concern

Bang: Holden's VE Ute hits the ANCAP crash barrier.

ANCAP urges more to be done on utility safety as latest crash tests fail to impress

3 Apr 2008

HOLDEN has failed to achieve a maximum five-star crash-test rating for its VE utility from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), but the four-star result handed down last week again demonstrated the relative safety of car-based light commercials over most heavy-duty one-tonne utilities.

One exception is the Mitsubishi Triton, which scored an equivalent four-star adult occupant protection rating (with the same 27 points out of 37) from ANCAP’s European affiliate in February.

The Toyota HiLux and the outgoing Ford BF Falcon utility also scored four stars when tested in 2006.

However, the latest Australian crash-test results show that the Mazda BT-50, with a less impressive three stars, and the Mahindra Pik-Up, with a poor two stars, were back among the field with those tested under Euro NCAP recently – the three-star Nissan Navara (upgraded from one star with revised airbag software now being installed in Australia) and two-star Holden Rodeo.

Holden points out that a right-hand drive Australian-spec version of the Rodeo scored a better three-star crash test rating from ANCAP.

13 center imageLeft: Mahindra Pik-Up and Mazda BT-50.

A mechanical twin to the BT-50, the Ford Ranger is expected to have a similar crash performance.

According to ANCAP, the Mazda’s passenger compartment was “severely deformed” after the frontal offset test, with the steering column, dashboard component and the park brake lever being potential sources of injury.

The Mahindra Pik-Up has fewer safety features and was found, in the frontal offset test, to offer the driver poor protection from serious leg injury and weak protection for the head and chest. Driver and passenger airbags are due to be installed in forthcoming 2008 models, while child restraint anchorage points are expected during 2009.

“We are seeing more four- and five-star vehicles on the Australian market these days and we would expect that a utility vehicle should earn a five-star rating in the near future,” said NRMA’s motoring research manager Jack Haley.

“Manufacturers are building key safety technologies into many of their models as standard features – and while some utes definitely offer more protection than they did five years ago, more needs to be done.

“Many are lacking in basic occupant protection, which is an occupational health and safety concern for drivers of these vehicles. Increasingly, these vehicles are often purchased for family use.”

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