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Two stars for LDV V80

Poor frontal offset crash results mean two star safety rating for LDV’s V80 van

14 Aug 2015

CHINESE light-commercial vehicle specialist LDV has been dealt a blow after receiving a two-star safety rating from Australia's crash safety watchdog, one of the lowest scores ever meted out in the van and utility category.

Under the latest testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the V80 scored 4.97 points out of a possible 16 in the frontal offset crash test, identifying marginal and poor protection in the chest and leg areas for the driver during a head-on collision at 64km/h.

According to the ANCAP report, the “steering column components and pedal movement were excessive,” and “dash components were also a potential source of knee injury for the driver and passenger.”

The V80 scored the full 16 points for side impact crash test, while also losing three points for not having seatbelt reminders, resulting in an overall score of 16.49 out of a possible 37.

Standard safety features on the van include front driver and passenger side airbags, antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA).

LDV does not offer electronic stability control (ESC) or seatbelt reminders across any variant.

The two-star rating is one of the lowest results for light-commercial vans in recent years.

Mitsubishi's Express van carried a one-star rating up until it was discontinued in 2013/2014.

However, in 2013 ANCAP changed its LCV testing standards, with any vehicles not equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) automatically losing a star.

For comparison, the Hyundai iLoad, Toyota HiAce and Ford Transit vans were all awarded with a four-star safety rating when tested between 2009 and 2011.

However, many vans that are currently on sale in Australia have yet to be tested by ANCAP. Some of these include the Fiat Scudo and Ducato, the Ford Transit Custom, and Renault's Trafic and Master.

LDV’s local distributor Ateco Automotive is bringing an upgraded V80 with ESC and hill hold assist to Australia later this year, but Asian brands spokesperson Daniel Cotterill says “they [ANCAP] have left us a little nonplussed”.

“We found the results to be confusing to be quite honest,” he said.

“ANCAP have tested the car on the basis of being a 2013 car, whereas upon our reading of the rules and documentation, it should have been a 2012.”

Confusion stems from the November 2012 compliance plate certification and the actual date the V80 went on sale to the public.

“We are genuinely and generally quite supporting of ANCAP and what they do, it’s a benefit to us,” Cotterill said.

“The vehicle is being very rapidly improved.”

ANCAP chief executive officer Nicholas Clarke said that the stricter safety regulations were put in place to further protect road users.

“The safety of those travelling in commercial vehicles is no less important than those travelling in passenger cars,” he said.

“ANCAP applies the same standards to both light commercial and light passenger vehicles.”

Mr Cotterill concedes that although sales of the V80 have been steady, they are not as good as they would like.

“Improved sales will come from a number of reasons, certainly enhancing safety equipment on the vehicles will help,” he said.

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