by Karl Peskett

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program, ANCAP, has strongly criticised both Kia and Honda in its latest round of safety ratings.

Both manufacturers have copped a spray with ANCAP stating that Australians are being “short-changed” when it comes to safety equipment released on local versions of their cars.

The decision to include or exclude such equipment is at the mercy of the local arm of the two manufacturers, who decide price points and specification level for each imported car. In contrast, Lachlan McIntosh, ANCAP Chairman, said our friends across the Tasman do get the full five stars.

“Both models (Soul and Jazz) come with electronic stability control (ESC) and intelligent seat belt reminders for all seats in Europe – yet ESC is not available on any Jazz in Australia and the base model only has a driver seat belt reminder,” Mr McIntosh said today.

2009 Kia Soul

“The Australian Soul only has a driver seat belt reminder and the base model does not have ESC. In contrast, the New Zealand Kia Soul has all these features and earns the top five-star rating from ANCAP.”

Honda then fought back, releasing the following statement:

ANCAP recently undertook testing of the entry model Honda Jazz GLi which recorded a very high four-star safety rating.

If ANCAP had tested the GLi with the Safety Pack option, which includes side and full-length curtain airbags, it would have received a five-star rating; as it does in EuroNCAP testing.

Therefore, in terms of crash protection, the Jazz GLi with Safety Pack option, Jazz VTi and Jazz VTi-S are in fact five-star cars.

However, ANCAP do not give a five-star rating to a vehicle that is not fitted with Electronic Stability Control irrespective of its crash performance.

Honda Australia acknowledges that due to the unique configuration of the Australian Jazz, Vehicle Stability Assist (Honda’s term for Electronic Stability Control) is currently unavailable.

However, as Honda Australia announced at the media launch of the Jazz in August 2008 and has been widely reported in the media, testing would be conducted by Honda R&D and Vehicle Stability Assist will become a standard feature on all Jazz variants with the introduction of the 2011 Year model (slated for arrival in Australia late 2010).

We should point out that Honda’s claim that the models fitted with the extra airbags should be five-star cars is a little misleading as the European models tested by EuroNCAP were fitted with ESC, because Honda Europe takes the car fitted with a CVT transmission, not the automatic fitted in Australia.


In addition, the Kia Cerato and Suzuki Alto were highlighted as needing more leg protection and crucially, seat belt reminders. As a result, these new models also only receive four stars.

“Despite generally high seat belt wearing rates in Australia, passengers without seat belts are over-represented in road fatalities and this simple device is a very effective countermeasure,” Mr McIntosh said.

“There are now plenty of choices for five-star safety for small cars in Australia, with several models costing less than $20,000. It is regrettable that these latest results have not added to that list.”



    Good on ANCAP!

    I could wear the Soul, but NOT at the silly price they are asking for it.

    Sells within a few $100’s of a KiaRio hatch in USA, yet hear in Oz the price is FANTASY level.

    As for the jazz, well its been commented that due to being made in Thailand and having a unique powertrain it was not designed for VSC, anyway its coming.

    haonda also have priced this vehicle to high, esp. when you consider its duty-free from Thailand.



  • nobody

    Not surprised, it seems we always get screwed by manufacturers down under. Alot of cars also come standard with sat nav and so on elsewhere while we aussies have to fork out afew K’s just to have it.

  • KC

    Holy balls I might spin out and burst into flames in my 1.3Litre 3 speed automatic front wheel drive Jazz if I don’t get that ESC! Thats a deal breaker right there!

    Rofl what a joke.

  • Sam, the original

    Honda can continue being up themselves that’s fine with me. So long as they realise they probably could have sold me a Jazz by now if they had been standard with VSC. How many hundred or thousand of me are out there Honda? You must not think many.

  • Sam, the original

    as optional extra would have done but noooooooo………….

  • Philthy

    You’re missing the point of stability control KC. A 1.3 litre 3 speed honda can still do 100 kmh plus and can still go slip sliding around on an icy/ gravelly road. Power output has very little relevance to the usefulness of stability control. You will probably find that a high performance car has better tyres, brakes and suspension so is less likely to get out of shape in an emergency in the first place.

  • Frenchie

    Honda made complaints that it was tough meeting Australian design rules (such as child restraint anchors). Here they leave off safety devices so safe a couple of hundred dollars.

    Marketing has more power than engineering in the car industry.

    So we do need ANCAP to test our vehicles in Australia and not rely on EuroNCAP.

  • Mega

    I don’t care too much about seat belt warnings (if anything, I’d disable them – they are too sensitive to objects), but optional ESC should be available.

  • The Original Tom

    KC, I couldn’t agree more. I’m imagining a Simpsons moment.

    Seriously, if I was buying a Jazz, losing control wouldn’t be high on the list of issues.

    However, crash protection, in a small car, would be right up there and it seems the Jazz has plenty.

    Simple star rating for cars is just too basic to convey the big picture. People need to do their research with more detail when buying.

  • Tony

    Let me say that I am DEFINITELY no fan of Honda.

    But surely a little bit of investigation is warranted? Even for web blogs???

    26,200.00 NZD = 20,679.17 AUD

    btw. they want NZ$38k for the top line model!

    (i’m sorry for using goauto but I can’t be stuffed trying to find any pricing on CA or the Honda AU site)

    Price Range

    Jazz GLi $16,490
    Jazz GLi (a) $18,490
    Jazz VTi $19,890
    Jazz VTi (a) $21,890
    Jazz VTi-S $22,490
    Jazz VTi-S (a) $24,490

    so I assume the base model of the NZ one is more
    expensive hence has more standard features?

    If you think my assumptions are wrong I appreciate any corrections?

    I mean, I’m not any investigative journalist but I don’t like to be lead by the nose??

  • Yianni

    Good on ANCAP!

    This is a slap in the face to the manufacturers that think they can get away with such safety omissions these days.

    Honda seems to be very arrogant in the way they handle things. Let’s not even go in to their pricing strategy lately… Can anyone say overpriced City?!?!

    The best way to make these manufacturers learn is to simply not buy their cars. What’s the bet they will fix all their safety issues pronto when their sales start to dwindle.

  • Supercujo

    TOTom: But people don’t research their car buying decisions. They buy based on looks and the nice sales dude who threw in rust proofing and tinting for no extra cost.

  • Mumble Duck

    What!? But didn’t the Kia Soul get a 5 star Euro-NCAP?

  • Blah

    Does anyone find the seat belt reminder that important? It should be automatic to put on the seat belt.

    If you can pay more and get the safety features that people have the choice. If the choice is there people shouldn’t complain.

  • SamR

    The Jazz is pricing itself out of the market.

    I saw some very high drive away prices for the Jazz in the papers.

    The Jazz VTi seems to be more expensive then the Corolla Ascent in drive away price. Nuts.

  • TSI

    Jazz is expensive but City is even more expensive…. In Thailand, City is cheaper than Jazz…. I dont know what are they thinking ???

  • John

    When I was looking for a car last year I ruled out the new Jazz because it didn’t have ESP. Long story short, I later ended up buying a Jazz despite the lack of ESP. But I still think it’s bordering on criminal that ESP isn’t available on the Jazz even as an option. Honda’s talk about it taking time to calibrate ESP is just rubbish, in that it might well take time, but they should have started 2 years ago! They made a business decision to sell the Jazz without ESP because they probably figured their target market wouldn’t care too much, and they’re probably right.

    However, of much greater concern is the dashboard design, which leaves the knee of the left leg open to massive damage in the event of a prang. The EURONCAP test result bears this out (although as their test car was LHD, it was the right knee that suffered). Sit in the driver’s seat of a Jazz, adopt a driving position and you’ll see what I mean.

    Shame on Honda for putting marketing and interior design ahead of safety.

    Apart from that though, the new Jazz is OK, but not as well built as the old model.

  • Confused

    I always thought Kia Soul is a gimmick car. They tried to mask the poor quality/safety with funkyness.

    Hona Jazz? Uhhh. Mechanically not much wrong, but intention to cheat on faithful customers. Now that ANCAP pulled their pants down, they started to cry loud. Poor them chchchch.

  • Andrew M

    Perhaps they were trying to keep the crash ratings low to ensure the chinese market wont reject them for being too safe like Renaults……….

    On the safety side of things,
    I wonder how long it is before Bluetooth is considered a Safety feature…..

  • tekkyy

    A small car has narrower track width.
    It is on the wrong side of centre of gravity height / track width ratio.
    One reason why you really want ESC on a small car or 4WD.

    Good on ANCAP report and comments for spreading the word on the issue.

    We do get short changed from the manufacturers. The US Camry has knee airbag.

    Honda is greedy though are they? With the Australia-Thailand free trade agreement the Jazz should be cheaper than competitors and with more features.
    But everything comes full circle. Honda is not exactly a popular brand by sales stats.