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Electric Lexus first with new ANCAP rating

RZ450e attains high score as stricter crash test protocols are introduced

11 Sep 2023

The fully electric Lexus RZ450e medium SUV (priced from $121,675 plus on-road costs) is the first new car to be assessed under expanded 2023-2025 ANCAP testing protocols, unsurprisingly attaining a strong five-star rating from the safety body.


The rating gives Lexus a jump on competitor vehicles in the medium size luxury SUV space that include the Genesis GV70e ($126,475 +ORC) and the Polestar 3 AWD (from $132,900 +ORC) not forgetting the Tesla Model Y AWD (from $82,300 +ORC).


ANCAP’s multi-faceted 2023-2025 revision to testing covers scoring relating to how a vehicle’s structure performs in the event of a collision, the grading of autonomous emergency braking performance, child occupant protection, cyclist and motorcyclist protection, driver monitoring systems, restraint system performance, and even rescue and extraction performance protocols.


ANCAP says the battery electric Lexus RZ provides a strong demonstration of what can be achieved with modern safety features and technologies.


The model was introduced in New Zealand in April 2023 and Australia in May 2023 and the ANCAP safety rating applies to all variants which feature dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting airbags and a driver knee airbag as standard.


A centre airbag, which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes, is also standard.


Autonomous emergency braking (car-to-car, vulnerable road user, junction and crossing, back over and head-on) as well as a lane support system with lane keep assist (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW) and emergency lane keeping (ELK), and an advanced speed assistance system (SAS) are standard.


In hard numbers, the luxury medium size SUV’s attained the following:


  • 87 per cent for Adult Occupant Protection
  • 89 per cent for Child Occupant Protection
  • 84 per cent for Vulnerable Road User Protection
  • 84 per cent for Safety Assist


Under the new rating system, score thresholds of 80 per cent (Adult Occupant Protection), 80 per cent (Child Occupant Protection) and 70 per cent (Safety Assist) continue to apply for a vehicle to be eligible for a five-star rating.


But the safety body has widened the breadth of safety aspects and test scenarios assessed under the new 2023-2025 protocols along with adjustments to the distribution and quantum of available points.


Against these new 2023 criteria, the Lexus RZ satisfied the cyclist anti-dooring requirements, demonstrating its ability to warn occupants of an approaching cyclist when exiting both the front and rear doors, and to prevent door opening if needed.


Vehicle submergence requirements for door and window opening were also met.


The RZ also demonstrated Good performance in each of the new lane support and autonomous emergency braking scenarios including those with the stationary and braking motorcycle and in intersection turning scenarios involving an oncoming motorcycle.


To recap, key 2023-2025 ANCAP testing protocol changes include to assessing the vehicle’s structure that now places a greater focus on vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility through an increased penalty of eight points (previously a four-point penalty).


A greater focus is placed on restraint design that requires improved performance of on-board restraint systems for front and rear seating positions through a reduced tolerance for chest injury in the full width frontal test.


Greater emphasis is placed on motorcyclist detection that assesses a vehicle’s ability to detect and avoid collisions with motorcycles through autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind spot monitoring (BSM) and lane support (LSS) functionality.


Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) function in head-on and intersection crossing scenarios is revised and cyclist protection is assessed for anti-dooring functionality, improved vehicle design to reduce cyclist head injury, and additional AEB scenarios.


In relation to child occupant and pedestrian protection new rules evaluate in-cabin systems that detect and notify the driver of a child inadvertently left inside a vehicle, and AEB systems that detect and react to child pedestrians when reversing.


To aid rescue and extrication, vehicles are assessed for submergence egress capability and driver monitoring systems come under closer scrutiny focusing on eye movements for distraction, fatigue, and unresponsiveness.


From now, the five-star threshold for Vulnerable Road User Protection has also increased to 70 per cent from the previous requirement of 60 per cent. Threshold increases for all other star rating levels within the Vulnerable Road User Protection pillar have also been introduced.


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