The recently launched 2011 Chery J1 has been given a three-star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

chery-j1-crash-test

The result is far from a ringing endorsement for the Chinese hatchback, which is currently Australia’s cheapest car at $10,990 drive away.

With just three stars, the J1 is ranked equally among the least safe new passenger vehicles currently available in Australia, and only just ahead of a small number of two-star commercial vehicles.

ANCAP rated the J1 16.97 points out of a potential 37.

It scored 5.233 out of 16 in the offset crash test. The official ANCAP report said:

“The passenger compartment lost structural integrity. Protection from serious chest injury was poor for the driver.”

In the side impact crash test, the Chery J1 scored 11.733 out of 16. ANCAP said:

“There was a high risk of a life-threatening chest injury for the driver.”

The J1 is equipped with two front airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD). There is no option to fit additional airbags or electronic stability control (ESC).

Without ESC, the Chery J1 and its larger SUV sibling, the J11, are not permitted to be sold in Victoria. If neither vehicle is equipped with ESC by November 1, they will be banned across the country in line with the Federal Government’s mandate.

ANCAP was also critical of the J1’s roof bars, as they are cosmetic features only and not designed for carrying loads.

For the record, the highest rating small car according to ANCAP is the Honda Insight, which scored 36.39 points out of a possible 37 – a significant 19.42 points ahead of the Chery.