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Jaguar XF crashes to four stars
European crash testers give Jaguar XF four stars in safety setback for Brit brand
25 Nov 2010
JAGUAR’S best-selling XF has been awarded just four stars in the latest independent European New Car Assessment Program (ENCAP) safety tests, putting it behind its five-star rivals from Europe and Japan.
Only an obscure Chinese people-mover called the Landwind CV9 did worse in the latest round of results for 15 vehicles, scoring just two stars.
Like the Jaguar, Nissan’s new Micra light car – just arrived on the Australian market – and Volkswagen Amarok ute – just about to arrive Down Under – also scored four stars, but even they out-pointed the big Brit in the critical areas of occupant, child and pedestrian protection.
The test Jaguar – a right-hand-drive 3.0-litre diesel XF Premium Luxury – was rated marginal in driver chest, upper leg and whiplash protection.
In the tough side pole test, chest protection was rated as weak – the second lowest out of five categories.
The XF’s overall adult occupant protection rating of 78 per cent is well short of the BMW 5-Series’s 95 per cent and Mercedes E-class’s 86 per cent.
Child and pedestrian protection was similarly down compared with the latest German offerings.
From top: Jaguar XF pole test, Landwind CV9, VW Amarok, Nissan Micra and Kia Sportage.
The result is embarrassing for Indian-owned Jaguar which was seen to be making considerable headway in design and engineering with its latest flock of vehicles, particularly the XF and flagship XJ.
Its prestige rivals routinely score five stars in the tests these days, even for small cars.
In Australia, the XF accounts for more than half of Jaguar’s 770 sales so far this year, and with the demise to the X-Type, that proportion is growing bigger by the month.
Of the 15 vehicles in the latest tests, 11 scored five stars – the Audi A1, Mini Countryman, Citroen C4, Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage, Kia Venga, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, VW Passat and VW Sharan/Seat Alhambra.
The Chinese-made Landwind CV9 people-mover – which is being relaunched on the European market by a Belgian importer after a previous abortive attempt in 2005 – did the Chinese motor industry few favours by returning a poor result across all tests.
It scored just 34 per cent for occupant protection, 45 per cent for child protection and 31 per cent for pedestrian protection.
Landwind claimed the CV9 had been “revamped to meet the strictest European safety standards”.
But Euro NCAP testers said that in comparison to rival vehicles, the CV9 remained poorly equipped, lacking a side protection airbag, a head protection device and electronic stability control.
“The car was limited to a two-star rating by its overall performance, although it came close to meeting the three-star threshold for adult occupant protection,” Euro NCAP said in its official report.
In China, the Landwind CV9 reportedly received a three-star rating in the Chinese version of NCAP – C-NCAP – which is a little easier than the European version.
The VW Amarok’s four-star result is good for a ute, with only Mitsubishi’s L200 (Triton) managing that level in previous tests, although that was before the procedure was modified this year.
While the testers criticised the Amarok’s chest protection in the side pole test, it heaped praise on its pedestrian protection which it said was the best of any pick-up tested to date.
Volkswagen’s Passat and Sharan both performed strongly in the latest tests, with the Sharan scoring the equal best score of 96 per cent for occupant protection with Ford’s European-designed Grand C-MAX small people-mover.
South Korean car-maker Hyundai and its Kia subsidiary had plenty to be pleased about, with the Hyundai ix35 SUV, Kia Sportage and Kia Venga all racking up five stars.
The Czech-made Venga mini people-mover was being reassessed by ENCAP after getting a four-star rating earlier this year. Kia engineers made some structural changes to the front of the car and refined the restraint systems, to good effect in the latest attempt.
Of the 15 vehicles tested in the latest round, about nine are either on the Australian market or scheduled for launch here. Australia’s NCAP may adopt the results for the Australian cars if they are shown to be of similar specification.
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