Front-drive versions of the Suzuki Vitara small SUV, plus the Kia Optima mid-sized sedan range, this week received five-star ANCAP safety ratings. Neither of these mid-tier sellers had ratings before.

PHOTO - Suzuki Vitara (2015-onwards) side impact

The Hungary-sourced Suzuki Vitara managed a good rating of 35.79 out of 37 against 2015 ratings (for reference, the top-selling Mazda CX-3 managed 36.44), losing fractions of points in the areas of frontal-offset chest protection and lower leg protection.

The rating applies to front-drive variants, not the AWD turbo versions, however. These versions are yet to be tested. Unlike many ANCAP tests, which use Euro NCAP data, the Vitara was tested at Crashlab in Australia.

PHOTO - Suzuki Vitara (2015-onwards) frontal offset A

“Until now, the Vitara was ranked as the top-selling unrated model across all passenger, SUV and light commercial vehicles in both Australia and New Zealand,” ANCAP CEO James Goodwin said.

“The Vitara performed well in physical crash testing and includes reversing collision avoidance and a manual speed limiter as standard.”

ANCAP did, however, criticise the Suzuki Australia for the Vitara’s lack of autonomous emergency braking — available on European models — and other “important collision prevention technologies” such as lane support systems, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

PHOTO - Kia Optima (Nov2015-onwards) full width with logo

Meanwhile the Kia Optima also managed five ANCAP stars using Euro NCAP data, with 88 per cent in adult occupant protection, 86 per cent in child occupant protection, 74 per cent safety assist and 67 per cent in pedestrian protection. It scored a flawless 16/16 in driver protection during the frontal offset test.

“This opens the door for families and fleet buyers in the market for a replacement medium-size passenger car with top safety credentials,” Goodwin said.

“The Optima provides a high level of standard active safety features including all three grades of autonomous emergency braking, and demonstrated good performance in all crash and safety assist performance tests.”

PHOTO - Kia Optima (Nov2015-onwards) AEB with logo

A lane support system, following distance warning and adaptive cruise control are also standard on the Optima.

Goodwin added that the results for this volume pair meant that ANCAP can now claim 93 per cent market coverage.

“Our focus of late has been to target models which have sat unrated for some time and we will continue this focus over coming months in parallel with our usual program of rating new models entering the market,” he said.