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Safety advances leave Dacia trailing

Five stars for latest models from Skoda and Volkswagen, two stars for Dacia

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The latest round of crash tests by safety body Euro NCAP have seen the new Skoda Enyaq and Volkswagen ID.4 electric cars earn top five-star ratings – but the Dacia Sandero Stepway SUV and Logan saloon have earned ratings of just two stars.

The reason, according to the testers, is the slim accident avoidance specification on the budget brand’s two models (the Logan is effectively a saloon version of the Sandero but it’s not currently sold in the UK). While both are fitted with autonomous emergency braking, it is radar rather than camera controlled. Dacia’s basic system will not detect pedestrians or cyclists, only reacting to other vehicles which will soon be a legal requirement on all cars.

In addition, neither of the two cars is available with the lane-keeping technology which has become the norm in car safety packages in recent years, which Euro NCAP noted was disappointing as in other areas (adult occupant protection and child occupant protection) the two cars had scored well. With a better active safety package they could have secured a four-star safety rating.

In essence, the new Dacia Sandero will protect you reasonably well if you have an accident, but it doesn’t do enough to help you avoid that accident in the first place.

“Safety has moved on,” said Euro NCAP secretary general Michel van Ratingen. “The biggest strides forward are now being made by using high-tech to prevent accidents from happening.

“Dacia have found their market and they are sticking to it, but a two-star rating shows little ambition, even for a low-cost product. Their decision not to offer a camera clearly is out of step with the market and disappointing as Dacia are aware that their cars will soon have to comply with the general safety regulation.”

Skoda Enyaq crash test
The Skoda Enyaq earned praise from testers for its wide-ranging safety systems.

The Enyaq, Skoda’s first production model designed specifically as an electric car, and the ID.4, a bigger version of VW’s previously launched ID.3, produced very similar points scores, with Euro NCAP praising their extensive safety systems. With front, centre and curtain airbags fitted as standard, both cars scored over 90% for adult occupant protection.

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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.