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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Mahindra XUV500 seven-seater has earned a four-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) despite a number of disappointing measurements in the local crash test.

The Indian-built mid-sized SUV scored 26 points out of 37 in the crash test, including 10 out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test and the default 16 out of 16 that is awarded to all SUVs in the side impact component.

ANCAP’s report explains the XUV500’s passenger compartment “lost structural integrity” in the frontal test, and says “protection from serious leg injury was poor for the driver due to excessive rearward movement of the brake pedal”.

The crash test caused a rupture in the fuel line – apparently caused by contact with the driveshaft – while the exhaust pipe contacted the fuel tank but did not cause a puncture.

The test also caused the tailgate to open, although Mahindra has since developed a software upgrade to eliminate the problem.

The Mahindra XUV500 will be fitted with six airbags and electronic stability control as standard when it goes on sale in Australia later this month.

The four-star result puts Mahindra Australia’s first passenger vehicle on par with a number of other SUVs from better-established brands, including the Jeep Compass and Grand Cherokee and the Mini Countryman.

The rating also matches that awarded to the Chinese-built Great Wall X200/X240, which is destined to be one of the XUV500’s key competitors.

The four-star ANCAP rating is the best crash test score achieved by the Indian manufacturer, previously earning two stars for the Pik-Up dual-cab ute in 2008 and 2011 and three stars for the upgraded model earlier this year.

The Mahindra XUV500 remains long way off the pace of the safest medium SUVs in the country, however, with the Volvo XC60 (36.53 points), Audi Q5 (35.21) and the Kia Sportage (35.1) achieving the most impressive scores to date.

ANCAP also announced the Mazda CX-5, BMW 3-Series and Honda Civic hatch have been awarded the maximum five-star safety rating on the back of strong performances in crash tests conducted by overseas affiliate Euro NCAP.




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