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Results show not all utes created equal

4 April 2006

Latest crash test results show not all utes created equal

The AA and Land Transport New Zealand are concerned at the poor performance of some popular utility vehicles in the latest round of Australasian crash testing.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash tests new vehicles to measure how safe they are and to provide consumers valuable information on occupant protection performance. Vehicles are assessed based on a five-star safety rating system. Of the seven utes assessed in the latest round of tests, only three of the vehicles scored four stars and two of the vehicles tested scored only two stars. There were no five star results.

“The low scoring of some of the utes tested show there would be poor occupant protection in a crash situation. This latest round of crash tests has revealed that utility vehicle manufacturers need to raise the bar and provide the same high standards of vehicle safety that are on par with passenger vehicles,” says Stella Stocks, General Manager of AA Technical Services.

“It’s concerning that the two utes which scored only two stars do not provide airbags as a standard safety feature,” she says.

The Mitsubishi Triton 4x2 and the Mazda Bravo 4x4 (also sold in New Zealand as the Ford Courier) scored only two stars. The three vehicles which achieved four star safety ratings were the Toyota Hilux 4x2, Toyota Hilux 4x4, and the Ford Falcon. The Holden Rodeo 4x2 and 4x4 each scored three stars.

Utility vehicles are a popular choice for many Kiwis, with over 160,000 on New Zealand roads - the majority of these are driven in a rural environment, says John White, Land Transport NZ Manager of Safer Vehicles.

“Utes are likely to be driven in a range of situations on New Zealand roads including being used as vehicles by tradespeople, farmers and couriers. These people travel considerable distances due to the nature of their work and are therefore more likely to be exposed to crashes. Taking these factors into account, occupant protection and general safety in utes should be a vital issue,” he says.

Each vehicle model tested in ANCAP is subject to an offset crash test into a barrier, a side impact test and a pedestrian impact test. Crash tests are conducted in Australia, Japan and Europe and vehicle manufacturers are given the opportunity to examine their vehicles before and after the tests and to view the crash tests and data.

Crash tests are essential to determine vehicle safety for both occupants and pedestrians.

The AA and LTNZ are both members of ANCAP. Detailed crash test results are available on the websites of the two organisations - or


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