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by Tim Beissmann

The Holden Volt plug-in hybrid is among a group of four vehicles to earn a five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) in the latest round of assessments, joining five other vehicles tested by Euro NCAP to also achieve the maximum safety rating.

Among those tested overseas was the all-new Volvo V40 hatch, which achieved the best overall result ever record by Euro NCAP. The V40, which is set to launch in Australia in the first quarter of 2013, set new benchmarks in the adult occupant protection and pedestrian protection tests, and scored the maximum 100 per cent rating for its safety assist technologies.

Joining the Volt in ANCAP’s five-star club was the Renault Megane, Audi Q3 and Nissan Juke, while the Suzuki Splash earned a four-star rating.

The Juke and the Splash are both available in New Zealand, and while there are no plans to introduce the compact Suzuki to Australia, Nissan’s quirky crossover is believed to be all but locked in for our market, with a launch expected sometime in 2013.

Earning five stars alongside the Volvo in Euro NCAP’s testing was the new Audi A3, Ford B-Max, Kia Cee’d and the Renault Clio, while the Isuzu D-Max ute earned four stars.

Although the D-Max missed the maximum five-star rating – a side effect of failing to reach a 60 per cent score for pedestrian protection (it scored 51 per cent) – Euro NCAP praised Isuzu for its improvement over the previous model, which scored just one star for pedestrian protection and two stars for adult occupant protection.

The Holden Volt became the second ‘electric vehicle’ to earn ANCAP’s five-star safety rating, following the Nissan Leaf from 2011.

Launching in Australia this week before officially going on sale on November 1, the Volt is equipped with eight airbags (dual front, side, curtains and knee airbags), as well as lane departure warning, forward collision alert, rear-view camera and intelligent seatbelt reminders for all passengers.




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