Since the advent of Global NCAP crash tests, many cars that you presumed might be safe - from VW’s Polo through to Ford Figos and Suzuki Swifts - have been given zero star ratings.
However, the big disclaimer there was that the cars tested weren’t fitted with airbags (as is often the case with many cars sold in India) and those cars were deemed to be sufficiently safe when fitted with the airbags that SA and other markets receive, often achieving a much higher score when fitted with the devices.
Sadly, that is not the case with Chevrolet’s Aveo, of which there are still many on South Africa’s roads.
When Global NCAP’s partner Latin NCAP first tested a no-airbag version back in 2015, it failed to score a single score. This week Latin NCAP released the results of an upgraded version of the Aveo, fitted with dual front airbags as per the South African model, and even then it failed to score a single star, although if the 2015 standards were applied, it would have achieved just one star for adult occupant protection.
In the 64km/h frontal crash test, the 2017 Aveo’s structure was rated as unstable, with movement of the steering wheel and pedals increasing the risk of injuries to the driver, while despite the fitment of airbags, the level of protection give to the driver’s chest was deemed “poor”.
The Aveo did perform decently in the side impact crash test, where protection was said to be "adequate to good".
Furthermore, the Child Occupant Protection score for the 2017 model improved from two to three stars, thanks to the fitment of ISOFIX anchorages.
“Latin NCAP showed once again that just adding airbags will not make a car safe when the structure is unstable,” said Latin NCAP Secretary General Alejandro Furas.
“We call for GM to bring the same safety levels offered as standard by them in other markets to Latin America very soon. The market is reacting earlier and beyond governmental requirements thanks to Latin NCAPs tests.”
Global NCAP recently crash tested five South African spec entry level hatchbacks, after which the authority awarded four stars to the Toyota Etios for adult occupant protection, three stars to the Renault Sandero and VW Polo Vivo, one star to the Datsun Go and zero to the Chery QQ.