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Four stars for Suzuki’s new Celerio

Going nowhere: Suzuki’s Celerio hatch hits the wall in the Euro NCAP frontal offset crash test.

Suzuki Celerio gets ANCAP four stars, despite handbrake pulled on Australian sales

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Suzuki logo5 Feb 2015

AUSTRALIA’S New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded four safety stars to Suzuki’s Celerio micro car, just a day after its launch on the Australian market was postponed due to reports of brake failure in emergency brake tests by British motoring magazines.

The ANCAP announcement was to have coincided with the showroom debut for Suzuki’s Thai-made Alto replacement, but Suzuki Australia this week was forced to ask its dealers to keep all Celerio stock in storage until engineers from its parent company can sort the brake issue.

The ANCAP rating was based on data from Europe’s NCAP tests, in which the Celerio was awarded three stars because it lacked certain safety features as standard equipment.

In Australia, however, the little five-door hatch managed four stars because it gets head-protecting side curtain airbags and seat belt reminders for both front and second row occupants on all variants.

Australia’s top-selling mini car, the Mitsubishi Mirage, has five stars, but that vehicle was tested under a previous regime, and would likely have scored four stars too if it had been tested under the stiffer 2015 rules.

The superseded Suzuki Alto – which was built in India – received four stars, as did Holden’s Barina Spark and Nissan’s Micra.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said ANCAP was pleased that Suzuki Australia had decided to provide Australian and New Zealand consumers with a curtain airbags and seatbelt reminders all round.

“Side curtain airbags are a vital safety feature – particularly effective in reducing the chance of serious head injury in side impacts,” he said.

“ANCAP has put pressure on manufacturers to include head-protecting side airbags for many years, introducing this as a mandatory five-star requirement in 2004.

“We are happy to see Suzuki's positive response to this pressure, even though the Celerio's list of other safety features does not meet ANCAP's requirements for five stars.”

These include so-called safety-assist technologies, meaning it was not eligible for the side pole crash test and thus had no chance of being elevated to five stars.

Suzuki Australia says it is unsure when the Celerio will go in sale in Australia, as the investigation is continuing into the brake failure on two test cars in a high-speed emergency brake test.

Autocar reported that the brake pedal went to the floor and remained there during the tests on two cars, requiring a journalist to use the hand brake and engine braking to halt the vehicles.

Suzuki immediately started an investigation into the problem and ordered a halt to Celerio sales in the UK. In Australia, the stop-sale order came through just as Suzuki dealers were about to place the cars in their showrooms.

Celerios sold in Europe and the UK are made in the same Thai factory as those delivered to Australia.

Meanwhile, ANCAP has given five stars to Hyundai’s new mid-sized Sonata, continuing the South Korean company’s run of top results.

Mr McIntosh praised the Sonata’s all-round safety, although he pointed out that it lacked autonomous emergency braking – a standard feature on Hyundai’s flagship Genesis that recently score the highest result in any ANCAP rating.

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