- shares

The Range Rover Evoque and the MINI Countryman have missed out on the top safety rating from Australia’s independent crash tester, despite both being awarded the maximum five-star rating by the program’s European affiliate.

The luxury Evoque and the chunky compact Countryman were both awarded four stars under the Australasian New Car Assessment Program’s (ANCAP) scoring system, which differs slightly to its overseas equivalent, Euro NCAP.

Under ANCAP’s criteria, a vehicle must score at least 12.5 points out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test to be eligible to earn a five-star rating. The Evoque just missed the mark, scoring 12.39 out of 16, while the MINI also fell short in this area, scoring 11.89 points.

ANCAP did not physically crash test either car – it used Euro NCAP’s crash test data to compile its own ratings (as it does with many vehicles).

Euro NCAP’s report said the Range Rover Evoque offered only “marginal” driver protection from serious chest injury in the frontal offset test, and found the passenger airbag allowed the occupant’s head to contact the dashboard.

Euro NCAP said the MINI Countryman provided “marginal” protection from serious leg injury for the driver and passenger in the frontal crash test, and found dash components were a potential source of injury for the knees of the driver and passenger.

The Evoque, which ranges in price from $53,395 to $77,395, comes standard with seven airbags (dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee), electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distriubtion (EBD), brake assist (BA), front seatbelt pretensioners and intelligent seatbelt reminders for all passengers. The four-star result is another disappointment for Jaguar Land Rover. The Jaguar XF luxury sedan scored a four-star rating last month.

The Countryman, priced from $37,700 to $60,890, gets six airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD, front seatbelt pretensioners and intelligent front seatbelt reminders.

ANCAP Chair Lauchlan McIntosh admitted the scoring conflicts between ANCAP and Euro NCAP were a little confusing for cosumers. He defended the local program, however, insisting that on most occasions it was tougher on vehicles than the European system.

“We’re a bit tougher than Euro NCAP. We think it’s worthwhile staying that way.

“It may be a bit confusing, but plenty of things in life are confusing. We are in there for the interests of the consumers.”

McIntosh said he believes Euro NCAP’s points aggregation process “isn’t in the best interests of consumers”, and said ANCAP was working to try to convince Euro NCAP to change its ways to agree with ANCAP’s criteria.

There are a small number of instances where Euro NCAP marks tougher than ANCAP, however. The Volkswagen Amarok 4x4 Dual Cab is one example from earlier this year. ANCAP gave the pick-up a five-star rating, while Euro NCAP gave it just four stars.

In other results in the final round of crash tests for the year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was also awarded a four-star ANCAP rating, mirroring the rating handed out by Euro NCAP last month.

ANCAP confirmed the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, Toyota Corolla (hatch and sedan), and the Toyota Yaris (three- and five-door hatches) have all been awarded the maximum five-star safety rating. Despite its $14,990 starting price, every Yaris sold in Australia is fitted with seven airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD, BA, front seatbelt pretensioners and intelligent front seatbelt reminders. The Yaris scored 15.41 out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test – the highest of any vehicle in this round of testing.