June 12, 2018
Are you looking to buy a new car? Have you ever wondered what are the NCAP Ratings of cars that are on sale in South Africa? Most motorists should know about road safety. However, how many motorists really are aware of what safety features built into their cars by vehicle manufacturers? Let’s read on and find out which are the five safest cars on sale in South Africa.
Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) is a UK company, whose long-term vision is to see a world devoid of injuries and fatalities caused by car crashes.1 By 2020, they envision that all tested cars worldwide should exceed the minimum United Nations safety standards.
In 2016, the UN adopted a resolution on road safety, realising the crucial role NCAPs can play in raising vehicle safety standards worldwide. The UN also aims to encourage the establishment of NCAPs in all world car markets to spread the ‘car safety’ message. 2
Part of their mission is to assist NCAPs in emerging markets to provide quality assurance and technical support. They would like to share their expertise with similar organisations around the world. In this way, they will endeavour to encourage car manufacturers to provide safer cars. 2
As part of the campaign ‘SaferCarsforAfrica,’ Global NCAP and the AA teamed up and started the first independent crash assessment of five South African cars.2 The AA was delighted in being part of improving road safety in South Africa.
The two organisations accomplished something that has never been done before in South Africa. Five cars were tested for crashworthiness at a specific centre in Cape Town. The whole idea was to promote an awareness amongst consumers about the crucial importance of safety features in a car. By educating consumers in safety per se, they, in turn, will know which cars are safe to drive. The end goal would be to maximise road safety in South Africa. 2
The five cars sold in South Africa, and tested for crashworthiness were the Toyota Etios, Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Datsun Go+, Renault Sandero and the Chery QQ3.
The Toyota Etios came through the test with flying colours, achieving a 4-star rating. This was awarded for adequately protecting adult occupants during a frontal crash at 64 km/h. Front-seat adults had access to safety belts equipped with pre-tensioners. A 3-star rating was given for keeping children safe in child seats provided by Toyota. 2
The Renault Sandero received a 3-star rating for the 64 km/h crash test, with adult occupant protection being acceptable. However, pre-tensioners were absent from safety belts. Renault received a 4-star rating for its child seats. 2
Like the Renault Sandero, the Polo Vivo was awarded a 3-star rating for the 64 km/hour crash test. Adult occupant protection was adequate, but pre-tensioners were not available. Child protection in car seats used by VW received a 3-star rating. 2
The Datsun GO+ did badly in the 64 km/h crash test, only managing to secure a 1-star rating. This was due to poor adult occupant protection, when a powerful force hit the ‘driver’s’ chest, despite there being a steering wheel airbag. The ‘passenger’ had no airbag. In addition, assessors found the car structure to be unstable. Only a 2-star rating was given for the child seats used. 2
A 0-star rating was given to the Chery QQ3 because of its inadequate protection of the adult occupants, especially involving the ‘driver’s’ head and chest. The car structure was so unstable that critical areas in the car body had fallen apart, causing injury to the ‘driver’s’ head and chest. Airbags were absent. A 0-star rating was given for child protection, seeing the manufacturer did not recommend the use of any child seats. 2We have seen how safety features of cars are of critical importance, as they significantly reduce the risk of injury or death. Does the average motorist know about such safety ratings? This surely must override any other important car characteristics? Informing motorists about these test results and safety features in new cars will enable them to make the right choices in future. Imagine if it is mandatory that all new cars sold in South Africa must have a safety rating? Wouldn’t that be a cherry on top of road safety?