What's new: latest results
Australia’s cheapest car - the Chinese-made Chery J1 - only receives three stars for occupant protection. In the side impact crash test there was a high risk of life-threatening chest injury for the driver. It features only two airbags, lacks electronic stability control (ESC) and joins other Chinese-made vehicles like those from Great Wall Motors that have scored poorly.
The Australian-made Toyota Camry and Toyota Camry Hybrid have upgraded from a four-star rating to five after making production changes earlier in the year. Thumbs up also goes to the Subaru Impreza - the first tested by ANCAP to achieve the highest four-star rating for pedestrian protection.
From July 2011, Commonwealth fleet passenger cars purchased must have a five-star rating. Corporate fleet purchases represent half of all new vehicle sales in Australia which impacts on the production of vehicles. By upping the requirements in this sector there’ll be a flow on effect in private vehicles as well.
What happened in May 2011?
The latest “green” vehicle to hit the market, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, received a four-star rating. While this wasn’t a bad performance, many light and small cars are now achieving five stars, and ANCAP urges manufacturers of fuel-efficient cars to also strive for top safety ratings.
Of the four utility vehicles on test, only the Ford Falcon Ute received the five-star rating, with the remaining vehicles only receiving three. Passenger compartments for the Toyota Landcruiser and Nissan Patrol lost structural integrity, while the Ssangyong Actyon Sports Ute was let down by its offset crash result. Protection from serious leg injury for the driver was also poor.
What happened in August 2010?
Great Wall Motor's SA220 and V240 dual cabs scored poorly for occupant protection, when they were tested in September 2009, lacking what should be standard safety features. Some months later, however, the Great Wall Motor X240 four-wheel drive (4WD) received a four-star safety rating. Dual front airbags and antilock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD) - features missing from the SA220 dual cab - are now standard in this model.
The structure and restraint systems in the 4WD performed much better in this round of crash testing. The X240 missed out on the five-star rating as it doesn't come with electronic stability control (ESC), which has been mandatory to achieve full marks since 2008. The X240 was at the bottom for safety among other four-wheel drives, but overall it was encouraging to see Great Wall Motor making improvements.
Australia's first hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, has a five-star ANCAP rating. In our previous update, however, the Toyota Camry Hybrid only scored a four-star safety rating - the same result as the Camry tested by ANCAP in 2007, suggesting no improvements were made to achieve the highest score. The Camry Hybrid comes with ESC, which would have made it eligible for the five-star rating, but the crash tests showed vulnerability to injury of the driver's knees. The Camry Hybrid also has no passenger seatbelt reminder - a feature now standard in Commodores and Falcons.