The latest round of crash testing by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has produced some disappointing results for three new utility vehicles, says the AA and NZTA
The Automobile Association and the NZ Transport Agency say while the safety of utes has generally improved in recent years, with several four-star utes now on the road, the most recent crash test results show that there is a significant difference in the level of crash protection offered by different models.
The Great Wall SA220 and V240 utes both scored two-star ratings, while the Jumbuck Proton scored a one-star rating. Vehicles crash tested by ANCAP are scored on a scale of zero to five stars based on how well they protect their occupants.
All three of the utility vehicles experienced loss of cabin structural integrity during the offset frontal crash tests (carried out at 64kmh), with poor head and leg protection for the driver and passenger in all three vehicles at impact. The SA220 and the Jumbuck are not equipped with airbags, and none of the vehicles are equipped with Electronic Stability Control.
AA technical general manager Stella Stocks said it was particularly disappointing that new vehicles were being designed and manufactured with such poor safety performance, and consumers needed to be aware of the high risk of injury in a crash.
"Crash statistics show that occupants of one or two star vehicles are twice as likely to receive life-threatening injuries in a crash compared with occupants of four or five star-rated vehicles. With today's safety technology there is simply no excuse for a new vehicle to score one or two stars in crash tests."
NZTA access group manager Ian Gordon encouraged consumers to study crash test results before making a purchase.
"The difference in safety from one model to the next can be huge. Toyota, Holden, Ford and Mitsubishi have all produced four star utility vehicles. In some cases consumers would be better off buying a used vehicle with a high safety rating than a new vehicle with a poor rating - the price will be about the same but the level of crash protection will be much better."
ANCAP is supported by all New Zealand and Australian motoring clubs, the New Zealand government, all Australian State governments and the FIA Foundation. The AA and NZTA are both members of ANCAP.
Compare a range of utes here.