The latest round of car safety ratings have been released by Euro NCAP, with five-star results for the new Audi A6 and Volkswagen Touareg.
The new Suzuki Jimny, however, only scored a disappointing three stars, while the updated Ford Tourneo Connect scored four stars.
The Jimny’s poor score has come in for criticism from UK safety experts, Thatcham Research. Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s director of research, said: “As a completely new vehicle, [the Jimny] should offer far more protection to drivers in the event of an accident. Its safety technology did not perform optimally either.
“The youthful audience the Suzuki Jimny has been designed for deserve better in terms of passive and active safety.”
Euro NCAP also noted the Jimny’s “underwhelming driver assistance systems.”
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Autonomous braking makes the difference
The Audi and Volkswagen were praised for their autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems, which aced the new cyclist-avoidance test introduced for 2018 and showed good protection for vulnerable road users.
By contrast, the Suzuki Jimny’s AEB system “showed weak performance in tests of its pedestrian avoidance in daylight and does not operate in low light.”
Four stars for facelifted Ford
Unlike the other three models tested, the Ford Tourneo Connect is not an all-new model and is an update to a model that has been on the market since 2012. It was awarded a five-star score by Euro NCAP in 2013
Despite the Euro NCAP testing standards having been toughened considerably in the last six years, the updates Ford has made to the Tourneo Connect meant that it still scored a creditable four stars. In particular, adult occupant protection in the front seats was excellent.
Building blocks for a driverless future
Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP said: “Overall, these latest results demonstrate that, as Euro NCAP’s test protocols evolve and become more demanding, a five-star rating remains an achievable although challenging objective for the auto industry.
“It is particularly positive and welcome that manufacturers are performing well in the assessment of vulnerable road user protection systems such as AEB for cyclists. Euro NCAP has now tested six models which feature this life-saving technology.
“These driver assistance systems are the building blocks for potential automation in the future. Importantly they offer tangible safety benefits today.”