CarAdvice attended the audit crash test, which was conducted at Crashlab in Huntingwood, New South Wales.
ANCAP purchased the Picanto anonymously from a dealership to conduct an audit test, following a zero star crash rating for the same vehicle from Asian testing body Asean NCAP. During that crash test, the driver's door opened and the vehicle's body sustained significant damage.
The Picanto sold in that market is a CKD (Complete Knock Down), which means it is assembled locally from imported parts to reduce shipping costs.
As a result, it appears that the assembly process for that car isn't rigorous enough for the vehicle to maintain its structural integrity. Additionally, the vehicle in that market comes with no airbags or modern safety aids.
Australian delivered Picantos come to Australia completely assembled and decked out with standard safety equipment, which is why ANCAP originally awarded the Picanto five stars in Australia. The Australian score was based on testing conducted by Euro NCAP in 2011.
During that test in 2011, the vehicle scored only four stars, but the Australian rating was increased due to the addition of extra safety equipment, which was optional on the vehicle tested in Europe.
The audit test only covered frontal offset, with the final result coming in at 12.95, a reduction from the original 15.12 scored by the EuroNCAP vehicle. As a result, ANCAP has added a note to the crash test result to say "audit test results for driver chest and lower leg protection rated ‘Marginal’ indicating a moderate risk of serious injury."
Kevin Hepworth, general manager of media and communications at Kia Australia, told CarAdvice that Kia Australia was happy with the result.
"Kia accepts the outcome of the test and is happy the vehicle still scores five stars, as expected. The Picanto ranks well within its competitor set and we look forward to welcoming an all new model in Australia next year," Hepworth said.
Hepworth also pointed out that the vehicle tested by EuroNCAP in 2011 was a three-cylinder, left-hand drive manual Picanto, which isn't offered for sale in Australia. So the vehicle tested is a true representation of the five-star car on sale in Australia.
The crash test of this Picanto in Australia has been an interesting item of news due to the fact it has taken months for the crash test result to be revealed. It's still unclear officially why it took so long, but it's understood that there was some contention over how close the vehicle was to not being a five-star vehicle.
Either way, the boss of ANCAP, James Goodwin told CarAdvice that the test was a successful example of why the organisation plans to continue audit testing vehicles that may have demonstrated poor crash ratings in other markets.
“The trigger for this audit test was the considerable variation in structural performance seen on the Indonesian-sold Picanto,” said Goodwin.
“We wanted to confirm the validity of our existing rating for the safety of Australian and New Zealand consumers with the key driver being to provide assurance they can rely on ANCAP information when buying a new car.”
“The score obtained in the audit test is still within the five-star range but it is important that consumers are made aware of these findings so they can make an informed decision in this highly competitive market segment,” Goodwin said.
It's also worth noting that regardless of the reduction of the vehicle's frontal offset score, it still rates higher than one of its key competitors in the segment, the Holden Spark. The much newer Spark scored 12.79 for its frontal offset test, in comparison to 12.95 for the Picanto.