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Subaru’s Five Star Safety Leadership

Subaru’s Five Star Safety Leadership

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Subaru has become the first automotive company in New Zealand to achieve maximum independent safety ratings for its entire range of local specification vehicles.

Crashworthiness testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has resulted in the new generation Impreza gaining the top five-star ranking for occupant safety.

It joins Subaru’s symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Forester, Legacy, Outback and Tribeca with ANCAP’s highest possible star rating. Every new Subaru sold in New Zealand has a five star ANCAP crash test rating.

Impreza has also achieved the top four-star pedestrian rating. This makes it the first car to achieve the maximum double star rating in New Zealand and only the second car worldwide.

ANCAP is backed by Land Transport New Zealand the New Zealand Automobile Association and all the major motoring organisations and statutory transport bodies in Australia.

“Safety is a major consideration during the vehicle purchase,” said Chris Rickards, the General Manager of Subaru of New Zealand. “It is now undeniable that Subaru is producing some of the safest vehicles in the world.”

“This new Impreza has five-star occupant safety and four-star pedestrian safety due to its passive safety features. However Subaru is also the only vehicle manufacturer in New Zealand that has the key active safety feature of All Wheel Drive as standard on every new car sold – and has done this for over 10 years now.”

Mr. Rickards added: “These ratings are testament to the superb engineering of Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars.”

“Safety has been a long-term commitment for Subaru and we’re delighted to gain five stars for every car in the range.”

“Innovations such as the Vehicle Dynamics Control stability system are standard across the entire Impreza line-up and across 70 per cent of our entire range, with the remainder to follow within 12 months.”

“Subaru has consistently brought new safety features to the market at a rapid rate and that’s reflected in the latest ANCAP results. These cars are designed for real-world conditions and it’s a tremendous bonus to see them performing so well in ANCAP’s rigorous testing too.”

Subaru’s real world safety credentials are supported by the fact the last generation Legacy, Outback and Forester were all given the highest rating “significantly better than average” in the AA / Monash University’s Accident Research Centre’s Used Car Safety Ratings. This study reviewed over 2 million real life crashes on New Zealand and Australian roads from 1987 to 2005. Only 35 vehicles received the highest possible rating “significantly better than average” and three of these vehicles were Subarus.

ANCAP’s ratings are recognized by equivalent organisations in the U.S.A., Europe, Japan and Korea, where crash testing is also performed and results shared with ANCAP. Crash test procedures include a frontal offset crash at 64km/h, a side impact test at 50km/h and a pedestrian test, which indicates likely injuries to a person hit by a vehicle travelling at 40km/h.

Vehicles can also undergo an optional pole test, where the car travels sideways at 29 km/h, striking a round pole lined up with the driver’s head. This measures the effectiveness of head protecting side airbags and can result in extra points being scored. All five Subaru models have undergone optional pole testing.

These results are also confirmed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in North America, an independent body of vehicle insurers.

In its “top safety picks” for 2008, four Subaru models, the Impreza, Forester, Legacy and Tribeca were awarded “top safety pick” status by the IIHS, which surveyed over 300 vehicles available in the United States and Canada. Only 34 were granted the top safety pick award.

The IIHS testing includes a 64 km/h frontal offset crash test and a 50 km/h side impact crash test.

Subaru safety features

Among the safety features shared by every Subaru sold in New Zealand are:

  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, for optimum grip in all conditions

  • ABS brakes with four-wheel discs and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)

  • Child seat anchor points

  • Dual front and side airbags

  • Front seatbelts feature pretensioners and load limiters

  • Rear door child locks

  • Ring-shaped reinforcements surrounding the passenger cabin

  • Front seatbelt indicator lights

  • Door anti-intrusion bars

  • Three-point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt

  • Audible warning if front seatbelts not engaged

New generation Tribeca and Impreza add Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which also features on every Model Year 2008 automatic transmission naturally aspirated 2.5 litre Legacy and Outback plus Legacy GT, Legacy 3.0R, Legacy 3.0R spec.B and Outback 3.0R.
Every Impreza, Tribeca, Legacy and Outback also has side curtain airbags for added front and rear passenger protection – a feature that has been progressively introduced with new generations of each Subaru model.

Subaru’s five-star timeline

Subaru’s five-star ANCAP success began in early 2003 when it was announced the Forester Limited had achieved the best-ever occupant safety crashworthiness test rating for a compact four-wheel drive – five stars.

The rating was unprecedented in the history of ANCAP. It meant the Forester variant was officially ranked as the safest in its class. It was also the first time any Japanese-built car achieved a five-star ANCAP rating.

March 2004: ANCAP announced that every Legacy and Outback model ranked five stars for occupant safety in crashworthiness testing.

September 2005: ANCAP announced that the five-star result had been extended to every Forester variant, after Subaru made side airbags, in addition to existing dual front airbags, standard across the range.

October 2006: Tribeca achieved a five-star crashworthiness rating for occupant safety.

August 2007: New generation Impreza’s five-star ANCAP crashworthiness rating for occupant safety elevates Subaru to the only brand with five-star ratings for local specification cars across its entire range, plus a top four-star pedestrian rating for Impreza.


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