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Mahindra, Geely fail to impress in crash tests

Three out of five: ANCAP found Geely’s MK light car posed a ‘moderate risk’ of serious chest, leg and foot injury for the driver in the frontal offset crash test.

Mahindra Pik-Up, Geely MK receive poor ANCAP results as Nissan Micra makes only four

23 Sep 2011

THE safety of motor vehicles from emerging markets has again come under scrutiny with the Indian-built Mahindra Pik-Up utility receiving a two-star rating, and the Chinese-built Geely MK light car achieving only three stars out of five, in the latest Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) results.

The independent crash-test authority has also handed down a four-star rating for the Nissan Micra, which falls short of five-star performers now commonly found across the light-car class, such as the newly released Holden Barina, Hyundai Accent, Honda Jazz, Suzuki Swift, Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh this week repeated the call for new-car buyers to check ANCAP ratings before purchasing and to consider the fact that five-star-rated vehicles are now increasingly available.

“These results show that, while we are seeing an increasing number of five-star vehicles in Australia, there are still new cars coming onto the market with considerably lower ratings which provide less crash protection for drivers and passengers,” Mr McIntosh said.

“While motorists have a wide range of models available at different pricing points – and at different safety levels irrespective of price – the ANCAP safety assessment is a vital and valuable aid in the selection of a new car.”

80 center imageFrom top: Geely MK, Mahindra Pik-Up, Nissan Micra.

The Hyundai i20 is the only Indian-built vehicle on the Australian market with a five-star ANCAP rating – Suzuki’s Alto, also from India, has achieved four stars – while the Pik-Up’s two-star rating is the same as when tested in 2008, despite an upgrade in 2009 which brought dual front airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners and standard fitment of ABS brakes.

There are no Chinese-built vehicles at five-star level, with the Chery J1 light car recently given a three-star rating and Great Wall’s V240 utility and X240 SUV earning two- and four-star results respectively.

Great Wall’s SA220 ute also scored a poor two stars before being discontinued last year, while Chery’s J11 SUV and the new J3 small car are still to be tested.

The Pik-Up’s overall score of 16.49 points (out of 37) is exactly the same as the previous model, despite the extra safety equipment now onboard.

ANCAP said there was a high risk of life-threatening head and neck injury in the frontal offset crash test – in which the Pik-Up scored a mere 2.39 out of a possible 16 points – after the passenger compartment lost structural integrity.

It also noted there was a high risk of serious head, leg and foot injury for the driver.

Among a number of worrying aspects of the vehicle’s performance in the test, the airbag was still deploying when the driver’s head contacted it, which increased the risk of serious head and neck injury.

The accelerator pedal also moved 298mm rearward by and 137mm upward, while the steering wheel hub moved 62mm rearward, 104mm upward and 18mm sideways.

In comparison, the five-star-rated Volkswagen Amarok utility’s accelerator pedal moved 44mm rearward and 19mm downward, while the steering wheel hub moved 56mm forward, 11mm downward and 3mm sideways.

The Pik-Up was awarded a default score of 16 out of 16 in the side impact crash test. The regulation test does not apply to vehicles with such high seating positions, and ANCAP assessors noted that this sort of vehicle typically performs well.

As GoAuto has reported, the Geely MK – which is currently unavailable with electronic stability control and sold only in Western Australia – was expected to be replaced by the end of this year with a new model fitted with the life-saving safety device.

The MK is, however, fitted with dual front airbags and ABS brakes with EBD. It scored 20.56 points out of 37 overall, after also performing well below par in the offset crash test in which it scored 8.46 out of 16.

ANCAP said the passenger compartment held its shape reasonably well, but there was a moderate risk of serious chest, leg and foot injury for the driver and chest injury for the passenger.

The car scored 12.10 out of 16 in the side impact crash test, with ANCAP noting a moderate risk of serious chest injury for the driver.

The Thai-built Micra’s four-star result also comes as a blow for Nissan Australia, which is relying on this model to achieve a large 10 per cent share in its segment as the company strives to become the top vehicle importer by March 2013.

Despite a high level of standard safety equipment – including front, side and head-protecting side curtain airbags, ESC and ABS with EBD – the Micra had some shortcomings in the offset crash test, in which it scored 12.79 out of 16.

ANCAP said the passenger compartment held its shape well – except for pedal movement (the clutch moved 173mm rearwards – but found a slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver and passenger and a moderate risk of driver foot injury.

The airbag cushioned the head of the driver and contact was stable, but there was some concern about twisting of the neck.

The Micra scored 15.32 out of 16 in the side impact crash test, with a slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver. The vehicle scored a further two points in the pole test.

ANCAP also this week confirmed five-star ratings based on European NCAP results for Audi’s A6 executive sedan and BMW’s X3 SUV, while four stars were meted out to the Citroen Berlingo and Renault Kangoo vans.

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