Thatcham Research is urging vehicle manufacturers to fit life-saving safety technology such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) to cars as standard, rather than as an optional extra.
This drive to improve safety is once again reinforced by the latest Euro NCAP testing results, announced today (30 November), which show that consumers need to choose and spec their cars carefully.
While 2016 has seen some very good Euro NCAP results, those announced today show disappointing outcomes for two superminis. The Suzuki Ignis and SsangYong Tivoli both only received a three star Euro NCAP rating. The addition of optional safety packs increased the score on the Suzuki Ignis to a five star rating, and for the SsangYong Tivoli to a Four Star Rating.
Thatcham Research has found the take up of optional safety packs to be extremely low, less than 3% in the UK. The effect of this is that the majority of Suzuki Ignis and SsangYong Tivoli cars on the roads will be three star Euro NCAP rated cars, and will not include safety features like AEB that have been proven to reduce rear to end crashes by up to 38%.
“We’re increasingly seeing car makers opt for a Euro NCAP Dual Rating – a score for the standard car, and then a second rating with the optional safety pack. Car buyers need to make sure that they understand this rating and speak with their dealership to spec their cars carefully”, said Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research’s director of research.
“Don’t be misled – do your research, as it’s only by choosing the optional safety packs that you will be getting the levels of safety you should expect,” he warned.
While the Ford Edge and Hyundai Ioniq received overall five star Euro NCAP ratings, and scored well in active safety features that prevent a crash in the first place, car buyers need to be aware that both scored below standard in rear passenger protection.
Avery said: “The Ford Edge and Hyundai Ioniq are likely to be targeted at families with children or carrying elderly passengers, so to have rear passenger scores where both head and chest injury parameters exceed safe limits is of particular concern to us. Both manufacturers seem to have it wrong with the level of rear seatbelt tension they provide.
“Our advice to consumers is don’t just take Euro NCAP ratings at face value, look at the detail. If the safety of your rear passengers is important to you, and it should be, then there are other vehicles in the same category that have been tested in 2016 and rated five stars that have far better rear occupant protection.”
In contrast, the Euro NCAP five star rated Audi Q2 scored a 93% adult occupant rating and 86% child occupant rating, offering similar high levels of protection to occupants of different sizes, no matter where they sat in the car.