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Isuzu D-Max scores four stars

Law of averages: Isuzu’s D-Max one-tonne ute scored higher than the VW Amarok overall in Euro NCAP testing, giving the Australian importer hope that ANCAP’s criteria will make it a five-star vehicle Down Under.

Isuzu still hoping for 5-star ANCAP rating for D-Max ute despite 4-star ENCAP result

30 Aug 2012

ISUZU’S D-Max one-tonne ute has been given a four-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP, but this could translate into a maximum five-star rating when subjected to the criteria of its Australasian counterpart, ANCAP.

Hopes for a good result are also buoyed by the fact the Thai-built D-Max, which had its Australian launch in June, is endowed with more airbags than the closely related Holden Colorado that was awarded five ANCAP stars in July.

In addition, Volkswagen’s Amarok received four stars when tested by Euro NCAP in 2010 but ANCAP considers it a five-star vehicle.

Five-star safety is becoming increasingly important for light commercials as mining fleets such as BHP Billiton are starting to demand it, and increasing numbers of safety-conscious private buyers are going for dual-cab utes as their main family car.

Comparing the Euro NCAP scores for each area of testing reveals the D-Max to have achieved a slightly higher overall score than the Amarok.

Compared with the Volkswagen, Euro NCAP awarded the Isuzu higher percentage scores for child occupant protection (67 to 64), pedestrian safety (51 to 47) and safety assistance technology (71 to 57).

The Amarok scored higher for adult occupant safety with an 86 per cent score, compared with 83 per cent for the D-Max.

In the adult occupant frontal offset crash test, the Amarok scored 14 points against 10.5 for the D-Max, which was rated ‘marginal’ for the chance of serious injury to the driver’s chest, upper legs and lower legs and ‘adequate’ for the driver’s feet.

Amarok fared better, with only the driver’s chest rated marginal and the lower right leg adequate, but the VW provided ‘poor’ chest protection in the pole test and marginal whiplash protection compared with adequate lower torso and ‘good’ whiplash protection in the Isuzu.

Isuzu Ute Australia senior public relations manager Dave Harding told GoAuto the company is confident of a five-star result based on what happened with the Amarok.

“If you look at the figures, overall it appears we have a safer vehicle than the Amarok, which is five stars, and that is all we can work on at the moment,” he said, adding that there is no timeline for an ANCAP assessment yet.

“We are in the process of getting in touch with (ANCAP) and finding out what they need from us to get things happening ... they will have received the data today, so we just have to wait and see.”

If awarded five stars by ANCAP, the D-Max will join a growing number of one-tonners rated highly for safety, which in addition to the Amarok includes the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Holden Colorado.

In response to mining giant BHP Billiton’s announcement in May that it will make five-star safety mandatory across its fleet, Toyota has said it will upgrade its top-selling HiLux to qualify for five stars next year.

These changes are expected to include standard electronic stability control (mandatory in Australia for passenger cars and SUVs but not commercial vehicles) and side curtain airbags across the HiLux range, rather than restricting these technologies to high-spec variants.

D-Max sales are up 21.7 per cent to the end of July this year, with 4335 examples sold.

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