The Volkswagen Up! is the cheapest car in Australia to come standard with a five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety rating.
Launched locally late last month, the Up! scored 33.37 out of a possible 37 points in ANCAP's recent assessment, including a rating a 14.2 out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test and 14.17 out of 16 in the side impact crash test. ANCAP found a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver in a front-on crash and a slight risk of serious thorax injury for the driver in a side crash.
The Volkswagen Up! is the first ‘sub-light’ city car in the world to feature an autonomous emergency braking system, which Volkswagen calls City Emergency Braking. Until now, the technology has been reserved for larger, more expensive models, and is still either optional or not available altogether in a number of luxury cars.
The Up!’s braking system uses a laser sensor integrated into the upper section of the windscreen to scan the space 10 metres directly in front at vehicle speeds of 5-30km/h. The information is relayed to a computer and if it deems a collision is imminent, the brakes are applied automatically to either avoid an impact or reduce its severity.
ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said it was encouraging to see Volkswagen making safety a priority over other features.
“ANCAP is pleased to see that the Up! provides advanced safety features as standard and offers other occupant comforts such as Bluetooth as optional extras," McIntosh said.
“It is hard to fathom why features that protect vehicle occupants are sold as optional extras by most manufacturers yet alloy wheels and leather seats, for instance, come as standard. The move by Volkswagen to include AEB in the Up! as standard across all variants is a welcome change.
"The standard fitment of safety features and safety technologies is something ANCAP has been advocating for some time and all manufacturers should follow Volkswagen's lead.”
The Up! is priced from $13,990 before on-road costs in Australia.
The Opel Astra small car, Opel Astra GTC coupe (above) and the Opel Insignia mid-sizer have also been awarded five-star safety ratings following their introduction to the market at the beginning of last month.
The Insignia scored an impressive 35.16 out of 37, while the Astra hatch was close behind on 35.02.
The Astra GTC three-door ranked marginally lower at 33.35, with ANCAP finding a slight risk of serious chest and leg injury for the driver in a front-on crash and a moderate risk of serious chest injury for the driver in a side impact.