Five-star Prius pioneers new safety test

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Industry safety specialist Euro NCAP has performed its first test of Autonomous Emergency Braking technology, on the Toyota Prius.

The safety body is now including the test in its well-known star rating system for new cars, which it says will encourage crash-avoidance technology being fitted to all cars.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is able to detect both vehicles and pedestrians ahead of the car and to brake automatically to either avoid or lessen the severity of a collision.

According to Euro NCAP the ‘Toyota Safety Sense’ system fitted as standard to the Prius worked well and helped the car gain a top five-star safety rating.

Euro NCAP secretary general Dr Michiel van Ratingen believes that including AEB in the rating system is a key milestone, “that will help the proliferation of the crash avoidance technology into all segments of the market.”

Meanwhile the first set of 2016 crash-test results from Euro NCAP has also seen the first award of a dual rating, reflecting the amount of safety equipment available on a model’s options list.

The standard rating will continue to be a baseline, reflecting the safety features included in a car’s standard equipment list. Whether a second rating is published with the optional equipment taken into account is up to the manufacturer.

The new Suzuki Baleno hatchback only scores three stars in standard form, But Suzuki offers the optional safety pack ‘Radar Brake Support’ which includes an AEB City and AEB Inter-Urban system, and with the pack included, the Baleno’s rating increases to four stars.

According to Euro NCAP this dual rating allows consumers to easily understand the safety benefits which can be achieved by the additional crash avoidance equipment offered as options.

“To provide accurate and clear information to consumers about the latest systems and what benefit they might bring, is becoming more challenging – the dual rating will simplify the choice for the safest car,” adds van Ratingen.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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