News - Renault
Megane stars in ENCAP crash testing
Renault's Megane II adds safety prize to Euro COTY award
27 Nov 2002
By BRUCE NEWTON
RENAULT'S new Megane II has become the first small car to be awarded the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP independent occupant protection crash testing.
The result, announced in Rome on Tuesday night Australian time, is the second major award for the controversially styled Megane II in days, as it has also just collected the prestigious European Car of the Year award.
The Megane II was not the only Renault that earned five stars in the latest round of ENCAP testing, the Vel Satis also gaining the top rating.
They join the Laguna as five-star cars, the mid-size Renault becoming the first car to achieve ENCAP's top rating when it was tested last year.
Renault Australia stirred up some controversy when it became the first local car company to actively promote NCAP results in the wake of the Laguna result.
It has indicated it will consider the same tactic for the Megane and Vel Satis, which both go on sale here in 2003.
Other cars awarded five stars in this round of testing were the new Saab 9-3 and Mercedes-Benz E-class.
The sophisticated E-class is the second Benz to pick up five stars, following the C-class which earned the top rating this year.
But while the C-class was upgraded to five stars because of the installation of a seatbelt reminder after it was initially rated at four stars, all the five stars awarded this time around have gone to cars that were crash-tested.
Crashworthiness results released overnight covered categories labelled by Euro NCAP as executive cars, family cars, small family cars, super-minis, off-roaders and MPVs.
The Megane II which scored the result was a left-hand drive 1.6-litre five-door hatchback.
ENCAP said: "The Megane II has a car body that is extremely stable and provides good protection for occupants with no points being lost in side impact and only two points lost in frontal impact.
"The design of the dual seatbelt pretensioners and load limiter greatly reduces the forward movement of the driver's knees.
"The child protection is also of a high order with the child restraints meeting almost all of the Euro NCAP performance limits.
"However the pedestrian protection is only average and this aspect of safety protection still needs to be taken seriously by Renault."ENCAP pedestrian protection testing saw several cars earn two stars out of a possible three, but the Suzuki Grand Vitara also became the first car tested to collect no stars.
The front impact test is conducted at 64km/h into an offset deformable barrier, the side impact test at 50km/h, the pole test at 29km/h and the pedestrian tests at 40km/h.
Organisations contributing to Euro NCAP include the Departments of Transport of Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Catalonia, as well as the European Commission, the FIA Foundation, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) and the International Consumer Research and Testing (ICRT) on behalf of European consumer organisations.
ENCAP RESULTS SUMMARY
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