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Jeep Compass safety rating boost

Number crunching: Jeep’s Compass rates two stars in Europe, but four stars in Australia – after the same physical crash test.

Concern over global crash-test ratings as Jeep Compass goes from two stars to four

16 Apr 2012

JEEP has scored its anticipated four-star crash-test rating in Australia for the recently facelifted Compass SUV – two stars better than it had achieved under the tougher new European test regime.

The Compass gained the higher rating in Australia simply because of differences in the way test results are weighted, with the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) giving more emphasis to rollover protection and less to pedestrian protection than the Euro NCAP regime.

Jeep Australia corporate affairs director Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto there was a case for uniformity in crash test ratings around the world because it was currently “confusing for consumers”.

ANCAP chief executive Nicholas Clarke told us there would always be differences in ratings to other NCAP regimes, even though they use the same suite of tests.

“There will always be differences in how we rate vehicles because the environments are different between countries,” he said.

“For example, rollover is a big killer in Australia but not so much in Europe.”

 center imageFrom top: Mahindra Pik Up, Toyota Aurion.

ANCAP also announced today that the locally made Toyota Aurion had achieved the maximum five-star rating, as expected given that the previous model scored five stars and the Camry on which it is based also carries the top rating.

The new-generation Aurion, which will be launched in South Australia tomorrow, was crash-tested locally.

ANCAP also awarded five stars to two new light cars, the Kia Rio (sedan and three-door hatch, to match last year’s five-door hatch) and the Suzuki Swift Sport (matching the regular Swift).

However, the local independent vehicle safety advocate was less impressed after also crash-testing the Indian-built Mahindra Pik-Up, saying that “concern still remains” after awarding it only three stars – one more than it had previously.

ANCAP chair Lauchlan McIntosh said the Mahindra’s rating was well below consumer expectations for a new vehicle.

“The protection of vehicle occupants is ANCAP’s primary consideration and this is being achieved through a combination of stronger passenger compartments and the inclusion of active Safety Assist Technologies (SATs),” he said.

“Over 90 per cent of vehicles sold now have either a four or five-star safety rating, so it concerns me greatly to see the Mahindra still well below the standard consumers are demanding.”

ANCAP has been highly critical of the Mahindra Pik-Up in the past, saying after a test last year there was a high risk of life-threatening head and neck injury in the frontal offset crash test as the airbag was still deploying when the driver’s head contacted it.

Mr Clarke explained that Mahindra had “tweaked” the restraint package and also improved the vehicle structure to improve the offset crash test performance, resulting in the awarding of an extra star.

“Mahindra should be applauded for making changes on the run, but it is still a long way from par,” he said.

Mr Clarke said that most utes sold in Australia now rate four and five stars, with the notable exception of the Great Wall utes, which still carry only two-star ratings.

However, the safety organisation was more complimentary of Toyota Australia for the local engineering work on the latest V6-engined Aurion.

It noted the inclusion of SATs including automatic high beam and intelligent seatbelt reminders for all seats – saying the Aurion set an industry benchmark for the standard inclusion of such features.

“It is pleasing to see Toyota continue to provide such a high level of safety to the market, and there are exciting times ahead with further SAT innovation in the pipeline,” said Mr McIntosh.

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