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Four NCAP stars for Hyundai i10

Sub-par: Hyundai's new i10 managed only four stars in recent Euro NCAP tests.

Hyundai i10 manages four stars in Euro NCAP test, Australian fate still unclear

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Hyundai logo15 May 2014

By MIKE COSTELLO

HYUNDAI Australia remains undecided on whether to import the potential range-opening i10 supermini, which this week scored a disappointing four-star European NCAP safety rating.

Revealed last September at the Frankfurt motor show, the second-generation i10 would open Hyundai’s local range beneath the larger i20 if it were to come here, competing in the ‘micro’ segment against the top-selling Mitsubishi Mirage, Fiat 500 and Nissan Micra.

Since its European reveal, Hyundai’s local arm has repeatedly said it was working through a business case to determine whether bringing the car here would be viable both financially and as a brand-building exercise.

According to Hyundai Motor Co Australia (HMCA) public relations general manager Bill Thomas, this position has not changed, with the company “still undecided” on whether to bring the vehicle here.

In time, the sub-par safety score may give HMCA additional pause for thought given its entire passenger line-up has a maximum five-star rating from the similar Australasian NCAP regime.

Mr Thomas said it was too early to suggest if the European NCAP performance would put a proverbial line through the i10 coming here.

It is worth considering that a car with a four-star ENCAP rating could potentially achieve a five-star ANCAP result in Australia, given the two regimes use slightly different metrics.

This week’s four-star result means the Turkish-made hatch falls shy of its arch-rival, the Volkswagen Up, which scored five stars in 2011. This score was, however, registered before ENCAP’s latest round of upgrades that have made its testing regime tougher.

Another factor likely influencing Hyundai’s decision whether to bring the i10 to Australia is the Up’s failure to resonate with Australian buyers, despite glowing reviews and a sharp sub-$14,000 opening price.

Volkswagen Group Australia has since decided to stop importing the manual-only Up and clear its stocks, citing low sales, the lack of an automatic transmission and skinny product margins at this end of the market.

The Hyundai i10 scored reasonably well in adult occupant protection (79 per cent) and child protection (80 per cent) tests, and recorded 71 per cent for pedestrian protection.

In the safety assist test, however, it managed only 56 per cent, with a speed-limiter only fitted as an option and active safety technology such as autonomous emergency braking not available as it is with the Up.

ENCAP’s report said the passenger compartment remained stable in impact, as evidenced by lack of lack of A-pillar deformation. However, protection of the chest in the side pole-impact test was deemed marginal based on dummy readings of rib compression.

Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has also achieved the maximum five-star result in the latest round of ENCAP testing, as expected.

The left-hand-drive C220 variant tested scored highly in the adult occupant protection (92 per cent), child occupant (84 per cent), pedestrian (77 per cent) and safety assist (70 per cent) sections.

The only areas where the prestige sedan performed less than admirably were in the performance of its rear headrests against a whiplash test and the front edge of the bonnet in the pedestrian test.

Mercedes-Benz Australia will launch the new C-Class from July this year and expects it to reinforce its long-held status as the top-selling car in its line-up, despite the A-Class edging ahead so far this year.

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