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The Volkswagen Up! is the cheapest car in Australia to come standard with a five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety rating.

Launched locally late last month, the Up! scored 33.37 out of a possible 37 points in ANCAP’s recent assessment, including a rating a 14.2 out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test and 14.17 out of 16 in the side impact crash test. ANCAP found a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver in a front-on crash and a slight risk of serious thorax injury for the driver in a side crash.

The Volkswagen Up! is the first ‘sub-light’ city car in the world to feature an autonomous emergency braking system, which Volkswagen calls City Emergency Braking. Until now, the technology has been reserved for larger, more expensive models, and is still either optional or not available altogether in a number of luxury cars.

The Up!’s braking system uses a laser sensor integrated into the upper section of the windscreen to scan the space 10 metres directly in front at vehicle speeds of 5-30km/h. The information is relayed to a computer and if it deems a collision is imminent, the brakes are applied automatically to either avoid an impact or reduce its severity.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said it was encouraging to see Volkswagen making safety a priority over other features.

“ANCAP is pleased to see that the Up! provides advanced safety features as standard and offers other occupant comforts such as Bluetooth as optional extras,” McIntosh said.

“It is hard to fathom why features that protect vehicle occupants are sold as optional extras by most manufacturers yet alloy wheels and leather seats, for instance, come as standard. The move by Volkswagen to include AEB in the Up! as standard across all variants is a welcome change.

“The standard fitment of safety features and safety technologies is something ANCAP has been advocating for some time and all manufacturers should follow Volkswagen’s lead.”

The Up! is priced from $13,990 before on-road costs in Australia.

The Opel Astra small car, Opel Astra GTC coupe (above) and the Opel Insignia mid-sizer have also been awarded five-star safety ratings following their introduction to the market at the beginning of last month.

The Insignia scored an impressive 35.16 out of 37, while the Astra hatch was close behind on 35.02.

The Astra GTC three-door ranked marginally lower at 33.35, with ANCAP finding a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver in a front-on crash and a moderate risk of serious chest injury for the driver in a side impact.




  • Jimbo

    Let’s see if when they test the Skoda version if this car the omit the optional pole test like they always do…

  • Maxwell E

    I think these crash tests need to start getting a little more realistic. If I drive around at 110, I want my cars crashed tested at 110, not at half that speed.

    • Union

      SAAB would crash test 2 of there cars head-on at 120km/h (60km/h each car).

      • Sydlocal

         This test is supposed to replicate that Union. It simulates two identical/similar cars traveling at the same speed.

      • The Salesman

        Mythbusters proved your statement to be false. Two cars travelling towards each other does not make 120km/h. 

    • Sydlocal

      At 110 no matter what car you are in chances are you WILL die in a head-on/offset crash. This test is only to simulate an approximate 40% offset head on crash with a similar/same car traveling in the opposite direction at the same speed ie closing speed of 128km/hr in the case of EuroNCAP. Just like if on a two lane road someone coming the other direction in the same car as you drifted into ‘your lane’ and hit you just a bit more than headlight to headlight.
      Like the ADR fuel rating, it is merely a guide so you can compare similar cars under the same conditions. The speed chosen is also around the average speed of the average accident ie in the city/town which is where the majority of car car accidents happen. All of these figures etc go out the window if the “car” it hits is larger, ie a Commodore/Falcon. There is no way you can test for all variables.

      • Daniel

        I completely agree that you will most likely die in a head on 110km/h crash, but what would be interesting is to see what manufacturers would come up with if they did start doing a 100km/h test. I found it very interesting recently when US NCAP did those overlap tests and even the new 3 Series, which excelled at every other test, got only a ‘marginal’ score. I think the manufacturers are basically making cars that pass the tests, so if the various NCAPs raised the bar, the manufacturers would have no choice but make them even safer or suffer 2 star ratings etc., which personally I would like because the fact is that there are a lot of fast roads in this world and I don’t want to die in a car. 

        • Sydlocal

           I concur, they only build it to pass the test! If they did do a 100km test I would think the front structure of the car would be much larger than they are now. Even enough to make the large Peugeots look like they have a short front! Only then could they have a crumple zone big enough to control the deceleration forces to “non-lethal” levels. Either that or they could do a “Demolition Man” and turn the car into a marshmallow! LOL

          • Allan

             Or you can keep the same lenght of frontal crumple zone as you have now, and create a frontal impact zone made out of carbon fibre as it absorbs energy way better than steel. Probably not so cost efficient though….

      • Allan

        Two cars crashing into each other at 64km/h does not make it similar to one car crashing at 128km/h. This theory was proven wrong by Mythbusters not so long ago.

        Anyway, i still think 64km/h is a little low nowadays….they should raise it up to at least 80km/h

  • Zaccy16

    very good achievement for such a small car!

    • Legnab

      Absolutely again VAG tech proves a winner

  • Igor

    Good onya Volksie…once again forcing other brands to lift their game…
    …and the winner is?….us.

  • Bhutto

    Bluetooth phone connectivity IS a safety feature and should be standard.

  • Jimbo

    Dealers have 3 door manuals listed for $17-18K drive away… Seriously VW. A great car but you have to be joking!

    • Allan

       That’s just ridiculous when you can get a 5 door polo 77 for about $3k more only!!!