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Latest Crash Tests Rate Small Car Safety

Three more small cars have earned high marks in the latest round of crash testing by the independent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the Land Transport Safety Authority announced today.

The Holden Barina, Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza were each awarded four out of a possible five stars in tests measuring occupant protection in serious frontal and side impact crashes. They join the ranks of the Audi A3, Holden Astra, Mercedes A140, Peugeot 206, Toyota Echo, VW Golf and VW Beetle, which all earned four star ratings in Japanese and European tests conducted on ANCAP’s behalf using identical test procedures and evaluations.

Small cars earning three stars included the Kia Rio, Daihatsu Sirion, Hyundai Accent, Mazda 323 (also sold as the Ford Laser) and Peugeot 306. The Nissan Pulsar and Daewoo Nubira rated two stars, and the Daewoo Lanos one star.

Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright said it was encouraging to see more small cars earning high marks for safety.

"It's evident that many small cars are being designed with the safety of drivers and passengers in mind, and it's pleasing to see so many are achieving three or four star ratings. However, the tests show that there is still a high risk of life threatening injury in some models.”

The testing procedures used to determine the ratings include an offset frontal crash test conducted at 64 km/h and a side impact test at 50 km/h. Research shows a strong correlation between the tests and injuries suffered in serious on-road crashes.

The LTSA joined the ANCAP crash testing programme last year with the aim of improving consumer access to vehicle safety information and encouraging manufacturers to make further safety improvements to their vehicles.

Crash test results for nearly 100 vehicle models are now available from the LTSA website, Brochures detailing test results can be ordered by ringing the LTSA Helpdesk on 0800 699 000.

The next round of ANCAP testing will assess the protection offered by utility vehicles in crashes. The results are due to be released in late February next year.

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