If you’re in the market for a new car, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) provides essential information about the safety new cars provide in the event of a crash.
ANCAP aims to provide safety ratings for popular vehicle makes and models, so consumers can make informed decisions before they buy their next car.
Since its beginning in 1993, ANCAP has built its reputation to the point where it is now at the forefront of consumers’ minds (along with price) when they consider buying a new car. It has forced manufacturers to respond by creating safe vehicles that achieve the 5-star rating.
ANCAP is a not-for-profit organisation that raises funds from its members for testing. It is supported by the Australian and New Zealand automobile clubs, Australian Federal, State and Territory governments, the New Zealand Government, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance, and the FIA Foundation (UK). The testing process is extremely expensive, which prevents them from testing all cars; however they aim to cover the most popular vehicles in each segment of the market.
You might find ANCAP rating labels used by manufacturers in their advertisements – especially when they’ve received a five-star rating. However, in Australia, there is no requirement for dealers to display or disclose this information to the consumer.
Here we’ve got the results from 2009 to 2013.
For more information on car safety and advice, see cars.
How ANCAP tests
ANCAP conducts a set of internationally recognised crash tests that are undertaken in independent test laboratories. Crash dummies are used in all tests to observe for any displacement during the crash and measure the forces placed on the occupants in a crash. The structural impact on the vehicle's occupant compartment is also assessed.
The following tests are conducted and a 1 to 5 star rating for each vehicle is given following:
- Frontal offset test simulates crashing into another car. The car is crashed at 64km/h into a fixed barrier with a crushable aluminium face. Only 40% of the car’s front on the driver’s side makes initial contact with the barrier. Crash test dummies are placed in the vehicle to indicate the likely injuries resulting from the crash. Each vehicle is awarded a score out of 16.
- Side impact test simulates a similar situation to an intersection crash, where one car crashes into the driver’s side of another. A 950kg trolley with a crushable aluminium face is run into the driver’s side of the stationary test car at 50km/h. Each vehicle is awarded a score out of 16.
- Pole test simulates a vehicle crashing into a fixed object at 29km/h with contact in the line of the head of the seated driver. The pole is quite narrow and causes major penetration into the side of the car. Curtain airbags are particularly effective in reducing the chance of serious head injury in this type of crash. Cars with a low risk of head injury obtain two additional points for this test.
- Pedestrian test gives an estimation of head and leg injuries to pedestrians hit by a car travelling at 40km/h. These types of crashes represent about 15% of fatal crashes in Australia and New Zealand. This can be as high as 30% in some urban areas.
- Whiplash test simulates a rear-end crash equivalent to a stationary vehicle being hit at 32km/h. The test assesses two parts – a geometric measurement of the head restraint, and a dynamic test using the vehicle seat mounted to a sled.
- Safety features Three points are awarded for models with seatbelt reminders – a point for a driver reminder, a front passenger reminder and a reminder for all rear seat passengers. Vehicles are also awarded if Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) are fitted.
Coming in 2014
A roof crush test will be added in 2014. This test will be conducted to ensure that there is occupant survival space during a rollover crash. In this test a solid metal plate will be pushed against the front corner of the roof at a constant, slow speed and the resistance force measured.
Video: ANCAP test footage
Car crash test footage courtesy of ANCAP (www.ancap.com.au)