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Local cars fail in crash tests

The second round of Global NCAP and Automobile Association have released their Safer Cars For Africa crash test results on the current 2018 models of the Nissan NP300 Hardbody, Hyundai i20, Kia Picanto and Toyota Yaris revealing a broad, but disappointing range of safety performance, from zero to three stars for adult protection. The results highlight significant differences in the structural integrity of the entry-level versions tested, all fitted with at least one airbag. 

The results were once again alarming — especially in the case of Nissan’s so-calledNP300 ‘Hardbody’, which scored zero stars for its inadequate adult occupant protection in the driver's head and chest areas in a 64km/h frontal crash test after the vehicle structure collapsed and it was rated unstable. The steering column also failed to collapse and penetrated the passenger compartment, posing a significant risk of life threatening injury to the driver despite its double front airbags. ‘Hardbody’ further achieved two stars for child occupant protection.

The Hyundai i20 achieved a three star rating for adult protection in the frontal crash test at 64km/h and its structure rated as unstable, especially in the footwell area, to offer marginal to good in adult occupant protection. The car offers seatbelt pretensioners for both front passengers and seatbelt reminder for the driver. Using the child seats recommended by Hyundai, the i20 achieved a two star child occupant rating with limited protection and a lack of ISOFIX anchorages. The i20 structure is different to that of the European model and the local car further lacks Electronic Stability Control, side body and side curtain airbags standard in Europe. 

The Kia Picanto achieved a three star rating for adult protection in the frontal crash test at 64km/h. The vehicle structure was rated as stable but the footwell area was unstable. The car offers seatbelt pretensioners for both front passengers and seat belt reminder for the driver only. Using the child seats recommended by Kia the Picanto achieved a two star rating for child protection after the detachment of the ISOFIX anchorages. 

The Toyota Yaris achieved a three star rating for adult occupant protection in the frontal crash test at 64km/h, its structure rated as unstable and offering only marginal to good general adult occupant protection. The car provides seat belt reminders and included seatbelts with pretensioners for both front passengers. Yaris achieved a three star rating for child occupant protection child seats recommended by Toyota. 

Global NCAP awards a separate child safety rating to each car in order to highlight the different levels of protection vehicles provide to passengers on the rear seats and checks how compatible the car is with the child seats recommended by the manufacturer, as well as the protection provided in the crash test. Airbags are not a substitute for seatbelts, passengers must always wear seatbelts. 

Only the Yaris and Picanto offered standard ISOFIX anchorages for child restraint systems and only the Yaris offered three-point seatbelt for all passengers, while the rest offered only a lap belt in the middle position, making it impossible to properly install a Child Restraint System.