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by Tim Beissmann

The European New Car Assessment Program has tested 14 vehicles in the latest round of crash testing, with 10 vehicles achieving the maximum five stars.

Among the top scorers were the Audi A1, MINI Countryman, Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, Kia Sportage and Venga, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, Seat Alhambra, Volkswagen Sharan and the facelifted Passat.

The biggest surprise came from the only executive car tested – the Jaguar XF – which managed just a four-star rating, and was limited by its adult and child occupant protection ratings. Chest protection was rated as weak in the side pole impact test, and the XF’s seat and head restraint provided only marginal whiplash protection.

The Nissan Micra was also awarded four stars, as it was found structures in the dashboard posed a risk of injury to occupants. It was also marked down for not having sufficiently clear information for the driver regarding the status of the airbags.

The Volkswagen Amarok received four stars and its 17-point pedestrian rating is the best result for a pickup tested by Euro NCAP.

The biggest disappointment was the Chinese-built Landwind CV9, a mid-sized MPV that managed just two stars out of five.

Landwind was unsuccessfully introduced to the European market in 2005, and was widely criticised for its poor safety record. According to Landwind, the CV9 “has been revamped to meet the strictest European safety standards”.

Despite this, the vehicle still lacks side airbags, a head protection device and electronic stability control.

Euro NCAP secretary general, Dr Michiel van Ratingen, said although the CV9’s rating was disappointing, it marked a new beginning for testing of Chinese vehicles.

“It is clear that vehicles from China, India and other emerging countries will in the next few years become commonplace on European roads. Euro NCAP will ensure that consumers know what levels of safety are offered by these vehicles,” Dr van Ratingen said.

“By highlighting differences in safety performance, we aim to drive the safety of all cars towards and beyond the high levels we see from more well-established manufacturers. We are confident that Landwind and others will rise to this challenge.”




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