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Suzuki Celerio scores three stars in ENCAP

Low blow: Suzuki’s new Thai-built Celerio scored just three stars in European crash tests, but it likely to do better in Australia where side airbags will be standard.

European safety hiccup for Suzuki’s new Celerio city hatchback due here in 2015

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Suzuki logo6 Nov 2014

SUZUKI’S latest mini car, the Thai-built Celerio, has scored three stars in the latest round of European New Car Assessment (ENCAP) crash safety results.

The Alto replacement managed the lowest score among six vehicles tested in the latest batch, with four of them – the American all-electric Tesla S sedan, front-wheel-drive BMW 2 Series Active Tourer hatch, Nissan Pulsar hatch and Skoda Fabia small hatch – all getting the maximum five-star rating.

Renault’s Megane hatch was upgraded from three stars to four stars after the French company modified safety items such as the rear seatbelt warning system and speed limitation device to ENCAP requirements.

The result for the five-door Celerio was Suzuki’s second safety embarrassment this week, after its Indian-built Maruti Suzuki Swift scored zero stars in the Indian NCAP rating scheme.

The only other light hatchback to score three stars in ENCAP this year was the MG3 from Chinese company SAIC (Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation).

However, Suzuki Australia says it is confident the Australian-market version of Celerio will do better under Australia's NCAP system when it touches down in showrooms here in the first quarter of next year.

General Manager automobiles Andrew Moore told GoAuto: "Our engineers are now developing Celerio for Australia which they are very confident would receive four stars for ANCAP."Because head-protecting side airbags are only an option on Celerio in Europe, the five-door hatch was excluded from the side pole test, thus missing out on vital points.

In Australia, the Suzuki Alto – the Indian-built hatch that will be phased out when the Celerio arrives about May – already has standard side airbags and carries a four-star rating.

This indicates Celerio will also to have side airbags as standard equipment, potentially improving its score.

Less clear is whether the Celerio’s marginal leg protection for the driver and poor rear passenger whiplash protection in the Euro tests can be improved for Australia.

Overall adult occupant protection was rated at only 61 per cent by ENCAP. This compares with more than 80 per cent for the five other vehicles in the latest results.

But the biggest issue for the European Celerio was its lack of latest safety technologies, scoring just five points or 38 per cent in the safety assist category.

This compares with 70 per cent for the BMW’s new 2 Series Active Tourer which has items such as autonomous braking as standard equipment.

The small BMW scored 84 per cent for adult occupant protection, the same as Nissan’s Pulsar, which topped the pedestrian protection rating among the latest cars to be tested, with 75 per cent score.

The electric Tesla S impressed across all categories, and would have fared better had a glitch in the front passenger airbag software not prevented full inflation of the bag.

The passenger dummy’s head hit the dash through the airbag, resulting only “adequate” protection. ENCAP says the fault was traced to the airbag supplier, and has been fixed.

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