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Renault crashes the party

Class leader: Renault's Scenic was the best-performing mini-MPV in the latest Euro NCAP crash tests.

Renault's new models led the way in European crash tests conducted by NCAP

Renault logo4 Apr 2001

RENAULT has posted outstanding results in the European NCAP crash-testing program on the eve of its return to Australia.

The new generation Laguna, which goes on sale here mid-year, received the first five-star Euro NCAP rating ever awarded - making the prestige hatchback arguably the safest car currently available to consumers.

The Scenic mini-people-mover also performed well, earning a four-star rating.

The Scenic is due to arrive in Australia ahead of the Laguna, along with its 4x4 sibling the Scenic RX4, the Clio Sport and the Megane Cabriolet.

Mazda's new Premacy mini-MPV, which has been on sale in Australia since late February, trailed the Scenic with a three-star crash test rating.

Other models tested included the Citroen Picasso, Nissan Tino and Mitsubishi Space Star, although the two Japanese models are specific to overseas markets.

The Picasso, which is expected to arrive in Australia in late 2002, equalled the Scenic's four-star result, but with a lower overall test score percentage - 79 per cent to the Scenic's 85 per cent.

The Premacy languished behind the French duo, coming in at 65 per cent overall.

"At a time when small MPVs are becoming increasingly popular with consumers, we are delighted that our latest results show a good overall safety performance for the models tested," Euro NCAP chairman Max Mosley said.

The Euro NCAP test involves an offset frontal impact at 64km/h, a side impact taken at 50km/h and a new head protection or "pole" test where the car is propelled sideways into a rigid pole at 29km/h.

A pedestrian impact test is also conducted to replicate accidents involving child and adult pedestrians where impacts occur at 40km/h.

While the Premacy finished behind the Scenic in the overall crash test rating, it bounced back in the pedestrian impact test by scoring only the second three star rating ever awarded. The Scenic joined a long list of cars with a two star rating.

The Daihatsu Sirion was the first car to be awarded three stars for pedestrian safety.

While the results are positive for the mini-MPV class, the vehicles tested were European specification as well as left-hand drive, placing a question mark over their relevance to Australia.

In the case of the Scenic, curtain airbags were fitted - an item that will be missing from the Australian specification.

The Premacy came with side impact airbags, which is not part of the equipment list on the Australian model.

CRASH TEST RESULTS
Renault Scenic - 4 stars*/2 stars**
Mazda Premacy - 3 stars*/3 stars**
Citroen Picasso - 4 stars*/2 stars**
Renault Laguna - 5 stars*/2 stars***Front and Side Impact Rating
**Pedestrian Test Rating

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