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by Tim Beissmann

The latest round of Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) crash testing has delivered a spread of results ranging from three stars to five.

The Toyota Aurion, Kia Rio and Suzuki Swift Sport were awarded the maximum five-star safety rating, the Jeep Compass earned four stars, and the Indian-sourced Mahindra Pik-Up scored three stars.

ANCAP praised the Australian-made Aurion for its list of standard Safety Assist Technologies (SATs) – including automatic high beam and intelligent seatbelt reminders for all seats – which its says sets an industry benchmark for its class. ANCAP believes SATs will play a major roll in reducing the road toll in the future, potentially helping to cut the number of deaths on Australia’s roads to fewer than one a day by 2030.

The Aurion, which launches in Australia this week, joins its locally manufactured siblings, the Camry and Camry Hybrid, to be awarded the maximum five-star rating in recent months.

The five-star rating awarded to the Kia Rio five-door hatch was extended to include the three-door hatch and four-door sedan, while the Swift Sport earned the same rating as the rest of the Swift range.

Despite scoring just two stars from Euro NCAP’s crash test in February, the Jeep Compass was somewhat confusingly awarded twice as many stars under ANCAP’s system. ANCAP explained poor pedestrian protection limited the Euro NCAP rating to two stars, but this does not apply to ANCAP’s ratings in 2012.

The Compass tested was fitted with optional side thorax airbags for the front seats, and while the additional airbags improved its rating, ANCAP says the compact Jeep SUV could still be expected to achieve a four-star rating with only the standard front and curtains airbags fitted.

ANCAP was less impressed with the Mahindra Pik-Up, however. Despite improving its rating from two stars to three, ANCAP chair Lauchlan McIntosh says it is greatly concerning the Mahindra is “still well below the standard consumers are demanding”.

The Pik-Up scored 22.6 points out of 37, managing just 6.6 out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test. It comes standard with dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution, but is not available with electronic stability control. ANCAP also said as the Pik-Up does not include top tether anchorages for child restraints, it is unsuitable for transporting children under the age of four.