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Latest crash test results

Top sellers earn high marks in latest crash test results

Three of New Zealand's top selling new cars have earned high marks in the latest crash test results from the independent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the Land Transport Safety Authority announced today.

The Holden VY Commodore, Ford BA Falcon and Toyota Camry were each awarded four out of a possible five stars in tests on large passenger cars measuring occupant protection in serious frontal and side impact crashes.

The Commodore was New Zealand's top selling new car model last year, with the Falcon second and the Camry fifth.

"These are good results for the manufacturers, and it's good news for New Zealand car buyers. These are three very popular models, and all three have raised their performance. In terms of occupant protection they are now equal with European cars like Saab, Volvo and BMW," said Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright.

When ANCAP tested large cars in 2001, the Commodore, Falcon and Camry scored three stars each. Mr Wright said the improvements made over the last two years was proof that occupant protection can be improved. While pleased with the result, Mr Wright said there was still room for even greater improvement.

"The challenge to manufacturers now is to produce vehicles which earn five stars in ANCAP tests,” Mr Wright said.

Both the Commodore and Falcon are fitted with a driver seatbelt warning alarm that has an audible sound and visual flashing light to remind drivers to buckle up. ANCAP added this feature to its scoring system in response to the high number of fatal crashes involving unbuckled drivers and passengers.

The Falcon and Camry models tested were fitted with a brake pedal release system which means feet are less likely to be trapped and sustain injuries in serious crashes. This is acknowledged as a positive vehicle safety feature that can reduce leg and foot injury.

While the Toyota Avalon was not tested in the latest round, its three star result from 2001 has been included unchanged with the latest results as there has been no upgrade to the vehicle.

Two tests are performed on each model to rate occupant protection; an offset frontal test where the car is driven into a crushable barrier at 64km/h, and a side impact test which involves running a 950kg trolley into the driver’s side of the vehicle at 50km/h. An optional pole impact test is also available for vehicles fitted with head-protecting side airbags.

Research shows a strong correlation between the tests and injuries suffered by vehicle occupants in serious on-road crashes.

While the large cars evaluated in the latest tests provide good protection for their occupants, the same can't be said for pedestrians who they might hit. ANCAP also subjects vehicles to a series of tests which replicate crashes involving child and adult pedestrians where impacts occur at 40km/h. Impact sites are assessed and the vehicles are rated out of a possible four stars in terms of pedestrian friendliness.

All of the large cars fared poorly, with the Camry and Falcon earning just one star, and the Commodore zero. They Avalon was not tested.

"Other vehicles tested by ANCAP have shown that it is possible to design the front of vehicles so that their impact on pedestrians is less severe, without detracting from style or function. We hope to see better results in this area in the future," Mr Wright said.

Detailed crash test results for over 100 vehicle models are now available on the LTSA website, www.ltsa.govt.nz. Brochures with test results can be ordered at no charge by ringing the LTSA Helpdesk on 0800 699 000.

Results from the latest ANCAP and European NCAP crash tests for small cars are included on the following page. Video footage and still images of the crash tests are available on request.

Large Car Crash Test Ratings - May 2003

  • Vehicle Model Occupant protection rating Pedestrian impact rating
    Toyota Camry - 2002 on (Dual front airbags) **** *
    Ford Falcon BA - 2002 on (Dual front airbags) **** *
    Holden Commodore VY - 2003 on (Dual front airbags) ****
    Toyota Avalon - 2001 on (Dual front airbags) *** Not tested
  • Occupant protection rating Pedestrian impact rating
    Toyota Camry - 2002 on (Dual front airbags) **** *
    Ford Falcon BA - 2002 on (Dual front airbags) **** *
    Holden Commodore VY - 2003 on (Dual front airbags) ****
    Toyota Avalon - 2001 on (Dual front airbags) *** Not tested
  • There may be variations between models used in these tests and the models available here in New Zealand. New Zealand specifications may vary and therefore vehicles sold in New Zealand might provide different levels of protection to those described in these tests.

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