The Renault Trafic will finally adopt autonomous emergency braking two years from now – four years after the Toyota Hiace and Ford Transit – but the advanced tech may not elevate its crash rating from its current three-star score.
Representatives for Renault Australia said the Trafic van was due to receive advanced safety aids in 2022.
The extra safety features, including city braking, blind zone warning and rear cross-traffic alert, are among a suite of tech designed to prevent crashes in the first place.
However, these alone are not enough to achieve a five-star safety rating. At the core of the five-star score is how a vehicle protects occupants in a crash.
When the Renault Trafic was crash tested in 2015 by European crash test authorities, they noted the “dummy readings indicated marginal protection of the passenger's chest, and the steering column and parts of the (dashboard) presented a risk of injury to the knees and femurs of both front seat occupants”.
In an online forum with media, the marketing director for Renault Australia, Felix Boulin, said: “We are working on a facelifted version of Trafic which is … aiming for 2022 and that’s when we will come with all of the advanced safety aids such as (autonomous emergency braking).”
When asked if these changes would be enough to elevate the Renault Trafic to a five-star score, Mr Boulin said: “I don’t think the plan is to crash test the vehicle locally but, for sure, having more advanced safety features … could only improve the safety of the vehicle.”
It is unclear if or when the Mitsubishi Express – a rebadged version of the Renault Trafic – would adopt the same tech.
The Toyota Hiace has a five-star safety rating from 2019 and the Ford Transit has a five-star safety rating from 2012, although the current model was not introduced locally until 2014.
Both vans are the top two sellers in the segment and now come standard with advanced safety aids necessary for a current five-star result.