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VW Golf is safest 2009 car – ENCAP
Euro NCAP rates Volkswagen’s Golf as the safest new car of 2009
29 Jan 2010
EURO NCAP has released its complete list of new models crash tested in 2009 and, for the first time, a ranking of the five safest new models released last year.
Topping the list is Volkswagen’s new sixth-generation Golf, which was launched in Australia last February and first tested by Euro NCAP under its superseded rating system in 2008, before being retested in 2009.
Finishing a surprise second and third respectively were two hybrids in Honda’s new Insight, which is due on sale here in the second half of this year, and Toyota’s MkIII Prius, which was released here in July.
Equally unexpected was the fourth-place ranking of Hyundai’s Indian-built i20 light-car, which is expected on sale in Australia within months, showing that cars from emerging car markets can be as safe as the best small cars from Europe.
“Last year, tightened purse strings and more cars on dealer forecourts kept consumers on their toes,” said Euro NCAP. “The good news is that Euro NCAP results in 2009 show smaller, premium, mass market brands are becoming equally expert in safety as bigger, more expensive models.”
From top: Hyundai i20, Honda Insight, Mercedes-Benz E-class, Toyota Prius and Volvo XC60.
Rounding out the top five jointly were the Toyota Avensis, Volvo’s XC60 and GM’s new Opel/Vauxhall Astra, which will not be sold here.
Euro NCAP named Suzuki’s Indian-built Alto (launched here in August) and the Toyota Urban Cruiser (not sold here) as the lowest-ranked crash safety performers of the 33 models it tested in 2009.
They were the only two models to score three-star crash test scores from ENCAP last year, when most models achieved a maximum five-star ranking. In Australia, the Alto received a four-star NCAP ranking.
The only European four-star cars were the Citroen C3, Citroen C3 Picasso (not sold here), Subaru Impreza and Chevrolet Spark, which Holden has announced will be part of a new-generation Barina range in Australia.
Euro NCAP secretary general Dr Michiel van Ratingen said overall safety performance results had been calculated for the first time.
“Even though these cars excel in different areas of safety, their presence in the top-five list indicates that they are among the top safety achievers of the year,” he said.
While the top-five ranking, which is based on an overall score calculated by weighing four separate testing areas against each other, breaks new ground for Euro NCAP, the results are slightly different when ranked simply based on total scores.
As you will see from the list we have compiled, while the Golf still makes the top five, the Insight comes out on top, followed by the Prius, i20 and Avensis.
The Alto still finishes last – by a sizeable margin – but this time behind the C3, C3 Picasso, Spark and, surprisingly, Volvo’s C30 small-car.
Topping the list for adult occupant protection is the Golf with a commendable score of 97 per cent, while four cars achieved a best of 86 per cent in terms of child occupant protection: the Avensis and Kia Soul, and the forthcoming BMW X1 and VW Polo.
The Insight was an easy winner when it came to pedestrian protection, while the Renault Grand Scenic and Infiniti FX (not sold here) earned a near-perfect 99 per cent grading in the area of ‘safety assist’.
Previously, Euro NCAP released star ratings in the areas of adult and child occupant protection, based on frontal, side and pole impact tests employing up to three separate vehicles, plus pedestrian protection based on separate tests.
For 2009, however, Euro NCAP released one overall star rating for each car tested, based on scores in the same three areas plus safety assist, which rewards the fitment of speed limiters and electronic stability control, as well as the seatbelt reminder warnings it took into account before. It also added a test for whiplash neck injury protection in a rear impact.
In 2010, the threshold to achieve Euro NCAP’s maximum five stars rises from 75 to 80 per cent in the area of adult protection, 70 to 75 per cent in child protection and to 40 per cent in pedestrian protection. Results of the first tests to be conducted under the stricter regime will be revealed on March 3.
According to Euro NCAP, which praised the Insight, Prius and Impreza for their pedestrian protection performance, just 25 per cent of cars tested in 2008 achieved more than two stars when it came to pedestrian safety. All three cars went beyond Euro NCAP’s 2009 requirements for pedestrian protection, meeting the scheduled 2012 demand of 60 per cent.
Euro NCAP said it also rewarded the Citroen C3, Peugeot 3008, 308 CC and 5008, plus the Renault Grand Scenic and Infiniti FX, for their standard fitment of a driver-controlled speed-limiter.
“Speed limits are intended to keep traffic speeds below the maximum that is appropriate, ensuring the safety of motorists and other road users,” said ENCAP.
“Research recently carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory has shown that at 25 per cent above the average speed, a driver is six times more likely to have an accident than a driver travelling at the average speed.”2009 Euro NCAP ranking:
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