Independent crash safety watchdog ANCAP has defended giving all Australian variants of the new Hyundai i30 the maximum five-star score despite some discrepancies, including the fact no NCAP body has actually crashed the vehicle.
Despite Australia being one of the world's biggest markets for the Korean hatchback, the safety tester instead based its just-announced five-star maximum score with a 2017 date stamp on data from crashing the Elantra sedan in Australia, in 2016.
Both ANCAP and Hyundai say the PD i30 shares its platform, structure and restraint systems with the Elantra, and therefore the two cars' results are comparable - even though the cars are different in every dimensional metric and have different designs, body styles and weights, and the tests were done in different years.
"This process is used regularly where, upon receipt and assessment of technical evidence, ANCAP safety ratings can be extended to model or platform variants, eg Subaru Impreza/XV, Holden Colorado/Trailblazer, Audi A4/A5," ANCAP told us.
"ANCAP engineers ensure the technical data submitted can be applied to additional variants or models. Confirmation of the accuracy and efficacy of the submitted evidence is also obtained from a senior brand representative as part of this process. ANCAP also holds another layer of independence through post-publication audit testing conducted each year on identified vehicles."
We also questioned ANCAP on why the i30 got five stars across all variants despite the base Active not having Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), whereas the base Holden Astra (which has AEB as an option on the base car as one part of a $1000 extras package) remains unrated unlike its better-equipped range-mates, based on a Euro NCAP test.
"Autonomous emergency braking will a become a mandatory requirement for 5 stars when ANCAP adopts common protocols with Euro NCAP in January," ANCAP argued.
"ANCAP is encouraging consumers to demand advanced driver assistance features like AEB across all makes and models and vehicle brands which respond will be rewarded.
"The situation with i30 and Astra is slightly more complicated... AEB can be included in our scoring, along with many other safety technologies but until 2018 it can’t be isolated as a standalone requirement for 5 stars."
Pictured: Holden Astra Euro NCAP test.
In other words, ANCAP will not mirror Euro NCAP crash scores - and vice-versa - until next year, but can seemingly choose to.
We also asked why ANCAP did not source a handful of i30 to crash at Crashlab here in Australia, given the Hyundai's massive popularity in-market (it's in the top-five-selling vehicles).
"ANCAP is an independent, not for profit organisation and keen to cover the market as much as possible. When a valid rating can be extended to another model we will use that opportunity however, only after a rigorous technical assessment," the tester said.
"We do undertake regular audit testing to ensure the system is robust."
Hyundai Australia commented that it provided all relevant and applicable technical data to ANCAP and, on that basis, did not see a need to supply i30s for testing.
ANCAP CEO James Goodwin quotes:
“The i30 shares the same platform, structure and restraint systems, offering comparable safety performance.
“After assessing the technical evidence the rating was able to be extended to the i30, like we do for many other vehicles with shared engineering.
“We are encouraging vehicle brands to include advanced driver assistance features like AEB as standard and under our increasingly stringent assessment criteria it will soon be a requirement for 5 stars.”
MORE: ANCAP news and galleries