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Hyundai loads up four stars for iLoad

Smashing result: Fours stars places the Hyundai iLoad in the same league as the Mercedes-Benz Vito and Volkswagen Transporter.

Hyundai van equal to best-in-class Germans in ANCAP crash tests

17 Jul 2009

THE Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) today awarded the Hyundai iLoad and its passenger van-equivalent, the iMax, a four-star crash rating – equal to the best-in-class Mercedes-Benz Vito and Volkswagen Transporter.

The iLoad and iMax missed out on being the first van to achieve a five-star rating because of low scores in the side-impact test and the lack of standard electronic stability control (ESC) across the range.

Hyundai sales and marketing director Kevin McCann said ESC was standard on iMax and optional on iLoad diesel – but it’s not available in iLoad 2.4-litre petrol.

“It’s a configuration issue, that we have not yet resolved,” he said. “In a narrow way it’s possible, but we never managed to get the decision through to include the petrols, but that’s some of the issues that we’re working on.”

Mr McCann said Hyundai was also working on side curtain airbags, which would improve the iMax/iLoad’s chances of more points for the side-impact test.

He said safety features were considered by buyers alongside other considerations such as reliability and good value, but they had to be intrinsic to the package. Safety was not something that buyers were prepared to extra pay for, even though ESP costs less that $600 for the iLoad.

“The take-up of the ESP option on diesels is less than five per cent,” he said. “It’s an issue that we find that people don’t want to take it up. The risk we take is that if a competitor offers [a van] without it, for $600 less, [the buyer] will save the $600 and buy the other brand.”

Hyundai did the iMax/iLoad crash tests at the South Korean Government testing facility, KATRI, under ANCAP protocols and with the supervision of ANCAP program manager Michael Case.

Mr Case said at the iMax/iLoad announcement today that iMax and iLoad equalled the best in the van class.

While Mr Case applauded the efforts of Hyundai to improve its commercial van crashworthiness, he noted that further improvements could be made in middle-seat occupant protection and pedestrian impact protection.

"ANCAP noted the iLoad van has a centre front seat that has a two-point seat belt and lacks the protection of an airbag, offering inferior protection compared to the other front passenger seat [and] ANCAP recorded a disappointing pedestrian protection rating for the iLoad of one star out of four,” he said.

While other vehicles such as the Volkswagen Transporter offer a lap-sash centre seatbelt, none of the vans tested achieved more than one star for pedestrian safety.

Of vans crash-tested by ANCAP, the iLoad, the Mercedes Vito and the VW Transporter are four-star rated, the Toyota Hi-Ace and Ford Transit have a three-star ANCAP rating, while the Mitsubishi Express and Nissan Urvan both scored just one star.

No commercial vans have a five-star rating, which, according to Mr Case, requires excellent crash protection plus head-protecting side airbags and electronic stability control.

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