The Automobile Association and the NZTA are disappointed that only one of the popular vehicles tested in the latest round of Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash testing scored a top safety rating of five stars.
The Holden Commodore Omega sedan achieved a five star rating, while the Ford Falcon Ute and Honda Jazz scored four stars, and the Nissan Micra and Nissan Navara D22 4WD received three star ratings in the crash tests.
AA General Manager Technical, Stella Stocks says that a three star rating is a poor result given the increasing number of vehicles now achieving five stars in crash testing.
“It is entirely possible for new cars to achieve five stars, so it is surprising that popular vehicles such as these are not all reaching a top safety standard.”
“New car buyers should expect new vehicles on the market to be equipped with the safety features which provide the level of protection needed to achieve top ratings,” says Ms Stocks.
NZTA Vehicles Manager Don Hutchinson says that given the increasing number of five star ratings, manufacturers should be aiming high and equipping more models with Electronic Stability Control and extra air bags.
“Recent crash test results show that vehicles with both Electronic Stability Control and additional airbags are the ones that are scoring five stars,” Mr Hutchinson says.
Although the Holden Commodore Omega sedan achieved a five star rating, other Commodore models will not become eligible for the five star rating until Holden incorporates a passenger seat-belt reminder warning in their other variants during 2009.
The four star Honda Jazz base model with dual airbags performed well in crash tests but the six airbag variants were not eligible for five stars because they did not have Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a proven life saving technology that is now a requirement to achieve five stars in ANCAP tests.
The Ford Ute performed well in crash tests and Electronic Stability Control is now available, however Ford did not submit the Ute for the optional side pole test necessary to demonstrate five star performance.
The AA and NZTA await the arrival of a five star commercial vehicle so that tradespeople, couriers and other such vehicle users have the same level of safety as company executives.
Unfortunately pedestrians did not fare well in the latest round of results with the Navara utility achieving a poor one star for pedestrian protection, the Falcon Ute and Micra two stars and the Honda Jazz three stars out of a possible four.
ANCAP is supported by all New Zealand and Australian motoring clubs, the New Zealand government, all Australian State governments and the FIA Foundation. The AA and NZTA are both members of ANCAP. Detailed crash test results are available on the websites of both organisations – www.aa.co.nz(external link) or www.landtransport.govt.nz/vehicles/ancap(external link).