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by Tim Beissmann

The Foton Tunland has been awarded a disappointing three-star ANCAP safety rating in the latest round of local crash testing.

Despite Foton claiming its Chinese-built Tunland ute was designed in accordance with four-star Euro NCAP standards, the dual-cab’s lack of electronic stability control (ESC) makes it ineligible for any more than a three-star rating under ANCAP’s stricter criteria.

The Chinese-built Tunland ute scored 24 points out of 37 in ANCAP’s test, scoring only 50 per cent in the frontal offset crash test and failing to offer a number of key safety features.

While equipped with dual front airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and anti-lock brakes (ABS), the Foton Tunland lacks electronic stability control (ESC) – even as an option – as well as side, curtain and knee airbags.

The Tunland features a lap-only seatbelt for the middle-rear passenger and has no top tether anchorages for child restraints, making it unsuitable for transporting children under the age of four. And while the driver’s seat is fitted with an audible seatbelt alarm, it does not meet ANCAP’s requirements and is therefore given no recognition in the scoring.

Foton says ESC and top tethers are part of a production upgrade planned for later in 2013.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said there was no excuse for manufacturers to introduce vehicles to Australia lacking key safety features.

“ESC is a life-saver – particularly in vehicles with a higher centre of gravity,” McIntosh said.

“There really is no excuse for a new vehicle coming into the market today to be without ESC, which is now mandatory for passenger cars.”

A number of similar-sized dual-cab utes have earned five-star safety ratings from ANCAP recently, including the Volkswagen Amarok, Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and the Holden Colorado.

Meanwhile, updated versions of the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series (above) and Mitsubishi Pajero 4WDs have been awarded maximum five-star ANCAP ratings following upgrades to both vehicles for 2013.

The entry-level LandCruiser GX and GXL models now come standard with dual knee airbags, equipment previously only available in the high-grade VX and Sahara variants.

ANCAP also confirmed safety upgrades to the Pajero (below) reducing the risk of serious injury to the driver and passenger will see new models built from April likewise earn a five-star rating.




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