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Kia Picanto keeps five-star ANCAP rating

Testing times: Kia’s Picanto was audited by ANCAP and scraped in with a five-star result.

ANCAP allows Kia Picanto to retain five-star ANCAP result after rare retest

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Kia logo27 Sep 2016

THE Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has finally handed down its verdict on its retesting of Kia’s Picanto light car after three months of deliberation.

Australia’s safety watchdog will allow Kia to keep its original five-star rating, but will mark its record with a new, lower overall mark scored in the localised test.

It also found that there is a higher risk of serious injury to the driver, particularly to the leg and chest region, than first noted.

The results of a 64km/h frontal offset test at the independent Crashlab test centre in western Sydney in June saw the Picanto – tested in four-cylinder automatic form – score 12.95 out of a possible 16.

This is above the 12.5 required to achieve a five-star score, but below the published 15.1 score that the car achieved on the basis of its European NCAP test scores.

ANCAP performed a seldom-performed audit test on the Picanto after receiving reports that an Asian-market version of the car had fared poorly in a similar test in Malaysia.

“It was very, very close (to dropping a star),” said ANCAP CEO James Goodwin.

“We will keep it at five stars, but we will list the new score on its data sheet.

“We feel we need to be transparent on audit tests. If people search, they will find the results, so we wanted to make it clear.”

Mr Goodwin said that ANCAP did not accept a submission from Kia that the testing performed in Sydney was not a match for the European version because of vehicle specifications – the European test used a three-cylinder manual car which is 30kg lighter than the four-cylinder automatic tested in Australia – and the speed of the crash.

“There was a 1km/h difference on the speed, so it doesn’t explain the differences,” said Mr Goodwin. “We spoke to Kia, and they explained the difference between the auto and the manual – but really the weight difference is minuscule.”

He also said that there was nothing in particular that the Picanto did wrong.

“It just didn’t perform as well, but there was no fundamental issue,” said Mr Goodwin. “It just wasn’t as good as the Europe result, but not the catastrophic failure of the ASEAN result.”

The 2015-build Kia Morning (Picanto) scored just 1.48 out of 16 in the ASEAN adult occupant protection test when the crash dummy ‘driver’ partially exited the car through an opened door in the frontal offset test. It resulted in a zero-star score.

The vehicle used in that test was built from a complete knock-down (CKD) kit in Vietnam.

Kia Australia officials were reluctant to discuss the results of the test, but pointed to the fact that the seven-year-old Picanto – due to be replaced with an all-new car in 2017 – still holds the highest ANCAP rating available.

“We went in with a five star rating, and we’ve come out with a five star rating,” said Kia Motor Australia’s general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth, “and we’ve abided by the umpire’s rules.”

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