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Safety ratings a positive spin for small cars

4 JUNE, 2008

FIVE-star safety is now more affordable after the Mitsubishi Lancer and Hyundai i30, which cost under $30,000 each, achieved five-star ANCAP crash safety ratings.

ANCAP – the Australasian New Car Assessment Program – crash test new cars and awards them a star rating for safety based on internationally recognised protocols.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer rated highly for occupant protection following a series of crash tests – a frontal offset, a side offset and a pole test. The model tested was the top-specification model, which includes head-protecting side air bags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – both prerequisites for a five-star rating under ANCAP’s rating methodology. The lower specification Lancer scored four stars.

The Hyundai i30 also includes side curtains and ESC and achieved five stars after a recent modification improved the vehicle’s knee impact area, which ANCAP had raised as an issue. The New Zealand-built i30 will receive the same upgrade. Similar to the Lancer, the lower specification i30 scored four stars.

ANCAP Victorian partners, RACV, VicRoads and TAC, said the results indicated the trend towards safer vehicles was now filtering through to the small car market, making safety a genuine option for new car buyers in this price range.

“What we are now seeing is the provision of the latest vehicle safety features in cars below $30,000 – which is great news for consumers,” the ANCAP partners said.

ANCAP also announced five-star results from comparative test results under the European program, EuroNCAP, for the Renault Laguna III and Holden Astra  – both with side curtains and ESC – and four-star results for the Kia Rondo with side curtains, and base-model Ford Focus with chest-protecting side airbags.

ANCAP is now working cooperatively with some manufacturers to assist in the development of safer cars.

The ANCAP partners congratulated Mitsubishi on results for the Lancer, which scored well in three crash tests, and said it was encouraging to see side curtain airbags to protect occupants’ heads in the high specification model.

However, ANCAP would like to see manufacturers fit curtain airbags and ESC as standard equipment to all models, bringing these valuable safety features to a wider range of customers.

Unfortunately, pedestrians do not fare well in the latest round of results. The Lancer, i30, Laguna and Focus earned two stars out of four for pedestrian protection, and the Rondo and Astra, one star. Recent discussions between ANCAP and several manufacturers indicate that improved car-front designs are on the way.

ANCAP crash tests new vehicles, awards them a star rating for safety and publicises the results to the motoring public. ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, Australian state governments, the New Zealand government, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, the Insurance Australia Group and the FIA Foundation.

A full list of ANCAP’s vehicle safety ratings and other vehicle safety information is available at

Contact:     RACV        Denis Brown        9790 2572

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