Top five-star ratings have proven the norm in the latest series of crash tests of new models staged by Euro NCAP.
Of the nine cars tested by the safety body, just one, the Citroën E-Mehari, failed to achieve the five-star score. The retro-styled electric buggy, which is not sold in the UK, could only manage three stars.
Also tested were the latest versions of the BMW X3, Subaru XV and Subaru Impreza, while the Honda Civic was retested following improvements to its rear seat restraints and side curtain airbags that had seen the car achieve only four stars in its first test earlier in the year.
The e-Mehari is sold widely in Europe and could, for example, be offered to UK holidaymakers as a hire car. According to Euro NCAP, its crash protection was satisfactory, with standard airbags and seatbelt load-limiters and pre-tensioners, the e-Mehari offers satisfactory crash protection but its star rating was held back due to the stripped-back open car not including driver-assistance systems that are the norm in other vehicles – including the DS 7 produced by Citroën’s sister brand.
Matthew Avery, head of research at Euro NCAP’s UK body Thatcham Research, described the results as a strong showing for the vehicle manufacturers who submitted cars for testing, and praised the widespread of autonomous emergency braking. “It is encouraging that drivers of all eight cars will be supported by standard-fit AEB – a technology which is proven to reduce accidents – as two cars aimed at the family market, the Honda Civic and the Subaru Impreza’s suite of safety technologies are especially welcome,” Avery said.
Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen admitted that the five-star results would be unsurprising to some, but continue to represent outstanding engineering achievements.
“(A five-star rating) should not be taken for granted given the fact that Euro NCAP’s rating regime now includes over 15 different tests and hundreds of individual requirements, which are strengthened all the time – it is very positive that manufacturers still see a five-star rating as the target for most new vehicle models,” van Ratingen added.
Evidence of the challenges facing manufacturers is evident in new tests that Euro NCAP intends to introduce in 2018, in which brake systems that can detect and mitigate cyclists will be put to the test for the first time.
“These new tests and other planned updates will reflect the surge in automated vehicle functions that we expect to see on the market in the next years – our mission is to help consumers understand how these systems operate, to show what they are capable of and to explain how one day these might save your life,” van Ratingen said.