Monday, July 31, 2006

Weaknesses in two best-selling cars highlighted

Recent Euro NCAP’s tests have highlighted weaknesses in the safety systems of two of four cars whose results were released recetnly.

In the Nissan Note, one of the ISOFIX mounts for the child restraints broke in Euro NCAP’s side impact test.

Following investigation of the failure, Nissan advised Euro NCAP that the ISOFIX child restraint mount was one from an early batch which was not welded correctly. Nissan has introduced a countermeasure and additional checks. Nissan intends to recall all affected cars to modify them.

With the Toyota RAV4, the car’s airbags fired late during the frontal crash test. This was caused by the cable to a sensor becoming detached early in the impact.

Toyota have changed the routeing of the wiring harness and modified the airbag control unit so that the airbags deploy at the correct time even if the sensor connection fails. A second frontal test, on a modified car, showed that the airbags deployed correctly, although the sensor cable was also damaged in that test. These modifications were introduced into production before Euro NCAP carried out its second test.

In contrast to Nissan, Toyota informed Euro NCAP that they do not intend to modify cars that have already been sold to the public.

The Toyota RAV4 has become only the second small off-roader to achieve a three-star rating. The Land Rover Discovery achieved only one star for its pedestrian protection. So far, no large off-roader has ever scored more than two stars.

The Chevrolet Kalos was the worst performer of the four cars reported, with a three-star adult occupant protection rating. However, the result is better than that of the Aveo, the results of which were released in February. Chevrolet had advised Euro NCAP that the Aveo was an improved version of the Kalos.

The complete test results were available from 28th July 2006 onwards.

SUMMARY OF THE RESULTS

SUPERMINI:

CHEVROLET KALOS
Adult Occupant Protection: 3 stars
Child Occupant Protection: 3 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 2 stars

NISSAN NOTE
Adult Occupant Protection: 4 stars
Child Occupant Protection: 3 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 2 stars

SMALL OFF-ROADER:

TOYOTA RAV4
Adult Occupant Protection: 4 stars
Child Occupant Protection: 4 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 3 stars

LARGE OFF-ROADER:

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY III
Adult Occupant Protection: 4 stars
Child Occupant Protection: 4 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 1 stars

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