Although the 3rd round of #SaferCarsForAfrica crash testing, which were announced by Global NCAP and the AA this week, reveal the Toyota Avanza, Honda Amaze and Suzuki Ignis have reasonable crash safety for adult occupants, the vehicles offer disappointing levels of child-occupant protection.
Global NCAP chose the entry-level derivatives of the Avanza, Amaze and Ignis (fitted with at least 2 airbags as standard) to test their respective levels of adult occupant crash safety. Then, to calculate the child safety ratings of each of the vehicles, tests were conducted on the effectiveness of the Child Restraint Systems (CRS) as recommended by the manufacturers. The assessment checked how compatible the vehicles were with their prescribed CRS units, well as the level of protection they provided their occupants in the event of a 64-kph frontal impact.
The Avanza, a popular compact people-mover, achieved 4 stars for Adult Occupant Protection in the frontal crash test (to reiterate, at 64 kph) despite the fact that the vehicle's structure and footwell area were rated as “unstable”. The restraint systems in the car worked properly which, together with the seatbelt reminders for driver and passenger, met the requirements for 4-star safety rating for adults, Global NCAP said.
Of the 3 vehicles tested, only the Avanza had 3-point seatbelts for all passengers, facilitating the required conditions to be able to safely install a CRS in all positions (but the driver's). However, the Toyota achieved only 2 stars in the Child Occupant Protection test, because the evaluation unit’s rear bench detached from its anchorages to the vehicle as it was pulled by the CRS of the “3-year old” dummy, which was attached with ISOfix.
The Amaze achieved a solid 4 stars for Adult Occupant Protection as the vehicle’s structure and the footwell area were rated as stable. The sedan offers seatbelt pre-tensioners for both front occupants and a driver’s seatbelt reminder.
Using the child seats recommended by Honda, the Amaze only achieved a 1-star rating for Child Occupant Protection, because both child dummies impacted the interior of the car during the simulated accident; this demonstrated the likelihood of head exposure and the probability of injury.
In the case of the “18-month old dummy”, the armrest deployed during the crash and hit the dummy’s CRS, which broke the handle lock and caused a rotation of the child seat that culminated in the head of the dummy striking the front-seat backrest. In the case of the “3-year old” dummy, despite using a CRS with ISOfix attachments, its head contacted the car’s interior in the rebound phase of the simulated accident.
Meanwhile, the Ignis (a former Cars.co.za Consumer Awards - powered by WesBank - champion in the budget car category) achieved 3 stars for Adult Occupant Protection in the frontal crash test with the vehicle structure rated as unstable, including “weak chest protection for the driver”.
In terms of child safety, the Ignis achieved a low score because Suzuki did not recommend a CRS for the test, Global NCAP said. “Car manufacturers are responsible for all occupants in the car and, for this reason, they must always recommend the CRS to be used in the test.
"When they decline to do so, the car manufacturer is not awarded points during the test,” the organisation said in a release.