Maruti Suzuki’s hatchback WagonR and MPV Ertiga along with Hyundai’s popular model Santro failed to successfully pass the crash tests with full ratings, as per the latest results revealed by Global NCAP, the international vehicle safety accredition body. The vehicles, including Datsun Redigo, were found to be unstable on several parameters with exposure to different kind of injuries, raising questions over the reliability of Indian cars, especially the mass segment ones meant for middle class buyers. While Ertiga got three stars for adult and child protection, the MPV’s bodyshell was rated borderline unstable, with the footwell region rated unstable, exposing front-seat occupants to foot injuries, according to the global new car assessment programme (GNCAP). “Its footwell area was rated as unstable and pedals displacement showed risks to the lower legs of the driver,” GNCAP said in a note. Ertiga was upgraded in November last year and average monthly sales have been at around 6,000 units.
Interestingly, these tests were conducted after the new safety norms became mandatory, which includes anti-lock braking system (ABS), seat-belt reminders, speed alarms and a driver’s side airbag. So far, only Tata Motors’ compact SUV Nexon has achieved a five star rating. The hatchback WagonR, which was recently upgraded by Maruti Suzuki, achieved two stars for adult and child occupant protection, with structure rated as unstable. While driver and co-passenger head and neck protection was found to be adequate, chest protection was found to be weak, and knee protection was marginal. A similar rating was given to Hyundai’s smallest car Santro as its structure and footwell area was rated as unstable.
GNCAP, which evaluates a vehicle’s safety rating based on several parameters, said child occupant protection showed poor results mainly because the manufacturers did not recommend a CRS (child restraint system) for the test. Average monthly sales of the new WagonR and Santro is at around 12,000 units and 3,000 units, respectively. The worst performer was the hatchback Redigo by Nissan-owned Datsun, which failed miserably and achieved just one star for adult protection. “Head protection for driver was adequate due to steering wheel displacements.
Chest protection was poor for the driver and marginal for the passenger,” GNCAP noted. Stating that the poor protection of the driver chest means that there is a high probability of life threatening injuries, GNCAP said poor protection for any of the critical body regions, in this case the chest, limits the star rating to one star for the adults. GNCAP chose the entry-level version of each model and as a result only the Ertiga was fitted with at least two airbags as standard while the other models offered only a driver airbag.
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