Stricter star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test

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The truth about the stars in the crash test

Stricter star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test-stricter

Small and small cars in particular have had a hard time since the reform of the Euro NCAP rating. The Suzuki Celerio had to be satisfied with three stars

Source: EuroNCAP

Five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test are the top grade and the standard that all manufacturers strive for. Recently, more and more cars have been devalued. Renault suffered in particular.

VSix years ago, the then new Renault Megane was considered the safest car of all classes in Europe. The security organization Euro NCAP gave it five out of five possible stars and the top score of 37 points. At that time, Renault advertised that it had achieved five-star crash test results in all classes. That summer, the Megane was devalued, it only received three stars. The security structure is unlikely to have deteriorated over the years. But the rules of the game have changed.

Almost every year the Euro-NCAP organization, which includes the ADAC and the international automobile association Fia, among others, the transport ministries of the most important EU countries, tighten the standards. Launched in 1997, in addition to a good crash structure that safeguards the survival space inside the vehicle, airbags and, from today’s perspective, relatively weak pedestrian protection were sufficient to achieve good values.

Belt force limiters were added in 2001, and from 2003 the safety of children in cars was rated. In addition, the requirements for the body have been tightened.

Big safety deficits in the crash test

Quadricycles are just taking the streets as small city cars. But how dangerous they are for drivers is underestimated. The results of the NCAP crash tests show where the weak points are. Source: The World

NCAP followed technical progress in automotive development and made specifications. Requirements for pedestrian protection, such as softer and higher bonnets, for example, inevitably even have an impact on the design of the vehicles.

In the meantime, assistance systems are also evaluated. In 2012 it was still enough in this category if ESP was standard on board to achieve four stars. Today, current models require at least one additional assistance system in addition to the ESP and seat belt warning system on all seats in order to achieve the same rating.

Renault with weaknesses in the seat belt reminder

If a model is to receive five stars, it also needs two assistance systems such as automatic emergency braking or lane departure warning systems. The Renault Megane lacks the assistants. Only one thing was missing for the fourth star. The testers complained that the display for the seat belt warning appears as text in the display. The text, on the other hand, was not available in all European languages, which led to the devaluation. In the meantime, improvements have been made and four stars have been awarded.

Tesla Model S in the crash test

The Euro NCAP crash test consortium tests the Tesla Model S electric car in this video, and it does so with success: The American electric sedan scores five stars – an excellent result. Source: Euro NCAP

The auditors are currently evaluating the safety of the vehicles in four chapters, the so-called boxes. The most important one is the adult safety box. It is included in the overall grade with 40 percent. Child safety in the car, pedestrian protection and assistants each account for 20 percent.

If you do not achieve the number of points required for five stars in just one chapter, the 5-star rating is lost. Most recently, the so-called whiplash test of the rear bench seat, i.e. protection against overstretching of the spine when rebounding after a crash, and autonomous braking up to 50 km / h were added to the occupant safety.

Top marks have become almost impossible for small cars

The increased requirements have consequences. While 5 stars were previously mandatory for every manufacturer, this year a striking number of vehicles only achieved four or even three stars, although nothing or not much had changed in the body. While small cars like the new Skoda Fabia were able to get the expected top marks, it has become virtually impossible to get five stars one class lower.

Neither Renault Twingo nor the trio of Toyota Aygo, Citroën C1 or Peugeot 108 achieved the top mark. All of them received four stars. The new Smart will soon have to be content with that too, as it is technically very much related to the Twingo. Nissan Note, Opel Adam and Mitsubishi Space Star also received four stars. There were only three stars for the Suzuki Celerio.

In 2011, on the other hand, VW up had the small cars! or Toyota iQ received 5-star ratings. At that time, the up! however, the presence of the not yet mandatory ESP for the required number of points in the assistant chapter. Today he would get a maximum of three stars. The comparability of the star ratings over more than one or two years is no longer given.

In India one would be happy about three stars

To be included in the rating, assistance systems must be built in as standard or have a high level of market penetration. In the most price-sensitive segment, however, it will be difficult to obtain the necessary surcharges. For example, what is just a tick in the option list when ordering a luxury sedan and is hardly relevant in terms of price, makes up 20 or 30 percent of the base price for a small car. Emergency stop assistants, for example, require the presence of a radar system or corresponding cameras that also work in the dark.

Rodolfo Schoneburg, who is responsible for the passive safety of the models at Mercedes, estimates that it will take at least an entire generation of vehicles, i.e. six to eight years, before the assistants, who are currently gaining a foothold in the compact class, also assert themselves with small and very small cars.

The Indian VW Polo fails in the crash test

The British new car evaluation program "Global NCAP" tested the Indian VW Polo and the low-cost small car Tata Nano in cooperation with the ADAC. Both failed widely. Source: The World

For that long it is difficult to win five stars for vehicles of this size. It should stay that way, because the Euro NCAP organization has already announced the next tightening. In three years’ time you will also have to have automatic pedestrian recognition and an assistant on board to watch out for crossing traffic in order to get 5 stars.

Incidentally, similar rules apply on other continents, but the results are sometimes significantly different. In the Indian crash test, Nissan subsidiary Datsun was recently asked to take a new model off the market because it did not meet the simplest stability requirements. People there would be happy if most of the cars had three stars.

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