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Five stars for crash test ‘Holden Barina’

Chevrolet Aveo aces Euro NCAP tests as Holden prepares to launch Barina here

Holden logo25 Aug 2011

By RON HAMMERTON

THE European equivalent of the new Holden Barina has sailed through the Euro NCAP crash assessment with five stars, indicating the new General Motors light hatchback to be launched in Australia next month has stepped up its safety protection to world-class levels.

The Chevrolet Aveo – made in South Korea for global markets including Australia where it will carry Holden Barina badges – was one of nine new vehicles to be awarded top marks in the latest ENCAP results announced overnight.

A tenth car – Kia’s Picanto city runabout – missed out, getting four stars in line with the performance of its Hyundai sister model, the i10, in previous testing.

The current Holden Barina, based on a Daewoo Kalos, was rated by the Australian NCAP engineers as a four-star car, at least in three-door guise, despite scoring just 9.03 points out of 16 in the offset crash testThe new five-door Chevrolet Aveo, built on GM’s Gamma II light car platform and known as the Sonic in North America, scored more highly in adult occupant protection than cars such as the Audi A6 and BMW X3 in the latest round of European results, with a 95 per cent result under the new ratings scheme.

13 center imageFrom top: Kia Picanto, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Golf cabriolet, BMW X3, Opel Ampera.

Of the 10 vehicles in the latest batch, only the new Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet did better in this category, scoring 96 per cent.

ENCAP engineers said the Aveo also scored maximum points in the side barrier test, while it provided adequate chest protection in the severe pole test.

It is unclear if the European test results will translate into a five-star result for the Barina, but if the Holden version is essentially the same in all safety features, then the Australian NCAP organisation is likely to rubber-stamp the European result.

The larger Cruze-based Chevrolet Orlando MPV scored similar marks to the Aveo, although its score for ‘safety assist’ – the ease with which occupants can be assisted after a crash – was not up to the Aveo hatchback’s standard.

The smaller Holden Barina Spark light car – launched in Australia last year – is rated a four-star performer by ANCAP.

The new VW Jetta sedan that has just been released in Australia this month also scored five stars, as did the Citroen DS5 and Hyundai i40.

Opel’s version of the Chevrolet Volt petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, the Ampera, made five stars, although driver leg protection was rated as marginal, as was whiplash neck protection. No electrical problems were found after each crash test.

The Picanto lost points for a rear door that stuck open in the side barrier test, while whiplash protection in a rear-end collision was rated as marginal.

Although Kia Motors Australia has put up its hand to import the Picanto, the smallest Kia is unlikely to be sold here before 2013 because of strong European demand that is soaking up production.

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