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by Matt Campbell

The four-star crash ratings keep on coming, with the 2015 Mazda 2 hatchback and 2015 Fiat 500X baby SUV the latest big name models to achieve less-than-stellar crash ratings from safety authority EuroNCAP.

The Mazda 2 scored well for adult occupant (86 per cent), child occupant (78 per cent) and pedestrian protection (84 per cent), but its overall score was pulled down by its safety assist score of 64 per cent.

The Mazda 2 is available in Europe with a low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system, but according to EuroNCAP’s report, “there is no high speed (inter-urban) autonomous braking system available for the Mazda 2”, which is in part why it didn’t score highly.

CarAdvice has contacted Mazda Australia for comment.

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The soon-to-be-launched Fiat 500X similarly scored well in the actual test components – 86 per cent for adult occupant, 85 per cent for child occupant and 74 per cent for pedestrian protection – but it also managed a 64 per cent score for safety assist.

The 500X tested by EuroNCAP had an optional AEB system which “operates from low speeds, typical of city driving, to the higher speeds normal for driving on the open road”, but according to the crash test report, “Fiat do not expect most cars to be equipped with the system so its higher-speed functionality was not included in the assessment”.

Other scores from the latest round of testing include five-star ratings for the all-new Suzuki Vitara, which also comes with an optional AEB system. The Vitara is due here later this year.

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According to the report on that car, its “low-speed functionality was not eligible for assessment (as the system is not standard)”, though “its functionality at the higher speeds typical of inter-urban driving was included and its performance was good”.

The fourth and final car tested in this round of crash ratings was the Europe-only Renault Espace, which also scored five stars.

Update: Fiat Australia corporate communications director Lucy McLellan has responded to the Euro NCAP score.

As we’re all aware, the Euro NCAP testing procedures rate a vehicle in four categories: Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian and Safety Assist. The scores of each category are then combined and a Star Rating issued,” she said.

“The Fiat 500X performed exceedingly well in every crash simulation, scoring highly in Adult Occupant, Child Occupant and Pedestrian testing, with the Fiat 500X returning results as high or  higher than required for a five-star safety rating. The results mean the Fiat 500X will be one of the safest cars on the road in the event of an accident.

“Unfortunately, the Euro NCAP organisation chose not to include the Fiat 500X’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)  in their scoring sheet, adversely affecting the Fiat’s score in the final category, Safety Assist.

“This is a system that intervenes if the driver doesn’t apply the brake in slow-moving traffic and will arrive in Australia as standard across the Lounge and Cross Plus trim levels, and as an optional feature on the Pop Start trim level.

“While the final specification of Australia’s 500X family is yet to be finalised, every car in the range will be equipped with a full suite of important safety features, including ABS, ESC, Panic Brake Assist (which boosts brake power in an emergency situation) Hill-Start assist, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Emergency Hazard Lights, seven airbags and a front-end specifically designed for pedestrian protection.”

Update 2: Mazda Australia senior manager public relations, Karla Leach, responded to the four-star score awarded by Euro NCAP to the Mazda 2.

“There are different testing protocols and reporting criteria for EuroNCAP and ANCAP,” Leach said. “The 2015 Mazda2 will be tested by ANCAP in the coming months.

“We are confident that the Mazda2, which is sold with a comprehensive suite of safety equipment, will maintain its five-star ANCAP rating at the completion of this process.”




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