The latest crash tests performed by Global NCAP and Latin NCAP produced mostly poor results, however there were some semi-encouraging signs from a Honda MPV sold in South Africa.

Following dismal crash test results attained by the Renault Kwid earlier this year, Global NCAP tested an improved version of the compact crossover, which is believed to be on course for South African introduction.

Following the initial Kwid crash test that produced a zero star rating, Renault made improvements to the structure on the driver's side (don't passengers count too?) and the re-tested vehicle was also fitted with a driver's side airbag and seatbelt pre-tensioner. However, despite all this the car only achieved a one-star rating for adult protection and a single star for child safety.

On the upside, the Kwid was deemed to offer good head and neck protection to the driver, but the car was scored down due to poor chest and knee protection and an unstable structure that “could not withstand further loadings”.

Honda Mobilio gets three stars

Global NCAP also tested the Indian-built Honda Mobilio, which is sold in South Africa, and though the basic version without airbags did not achieve a single star, another version with dual front airbags (as per the South African models) attained a three-star safety rating for adult occupant protection.

The bodyshell of the Brio-based MPV was rated as stable and the vehicle offered good head and neck protection for front occupants, however chest and knee protection was found to be marginal by comparison.

Zero star hatchbacks

Meanwhile Latin NCAP tested the non-airbag equipped, Indian-built Chevrolet Spark and this hatch received a zero-star rating. This is in stark contrast the European-spec Spark which, fitted with six airbags, achieved four stars in the Euro NCAP tests back in 2009. South African-built Sparks are fitted with two airbags.

The latest tests follow a spate of poor crash test results in previous years for cars built in India. While there have been notable exceptions, particularly in the case of airbag-equipped Toyota's Etios and Volkswagen Polo, each achieving four stars, a number of budget cars received zero stars.

In Ford Figo and Suzuki Swift's cases this was put down to the non-fitment of airbags, however the Datsun Go was criticised for having an unstable structure that would render the car unsafe even with airbags fitted.

Yet if there's any sobering point to be driven home after watching these videos, it's just how important it is to have airbags and to wear seatbelts - remember, all the safety features in the worlds are rendered useless if these ‘primary’ restraint systems are not used.

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