JOHANNESBURG - The Global NCAP crash testing authority in partnership with the Automobile Association has released the fourth round of crash test results for South African spec vehicles and the findings leave little to be desired.
The #SaferCarsForAfrica initiative, as it is dubbed, has seen another zero star performance, this time from the GWM Steed 5 bakkie. It was tested alongside the Haval H1 and Renault Kwid, both of which received two stars for adult occupant and child impact protection, but it is at least encouraging to note that the French car performed better than the Indian-spec model due to it being fitted with more safety features.
That could very well prove to be the case for the Suzuki S-Presso, which recently caused a furore after the Indian-spec model received zero stars in its Global NCAP crash test. However, it is generally believed that the SA model (which has additional safety kit) would have performed better. Although the SA-spec Suzuki has yet to be tested, an AA spokesperson has hinted that it could be included in the next round of crash tests.
For now, let’s take a closer look at the latest round of crash tests for South African spec cars.
GWM Steed 5 - 0 Stars
The GWM Steed’s zero-star result follows the dismal performance of its South African-built rival, the Nissan NP300.
As per the Global NCAP protocol, the base version of the Steed 5 was tested, and this car does not come with airbags (although higher-spec vehicles do). However, Global NCAP also commented that the addition of airbags might not have made a major difference in this case, due to the deformation of the passenger compartment and movement of the steering column. The Steed’s structure was deemed unstable, as was the footwell area and the crash testing authority cited poor protection for the head and weak protection for the neck and chest.
The Steed also received zero stars for child protection, with the three-year-old dummy CRS having broken on impact.
On a more positive note, GWM is launching the larger and more upmarket P-Series bakkie in SA this week and given its ambition to take on the best, it is fair to assume that it will offer higher safety standards.
Renault Kwid - 2 Stars
One of South Africa’s best selling cars, the Renault Kwid managed two stars for both adult occupant and child protection.
This was an improvement over the one-star adult occupant score attained by the Indian-spec model (which has just one airbag) but the SA spec model - which is also built in India but fitted with two airbags - did fall behind the three-star rating achieved by the Latin American model, which has four crash bags.
The South African model was deemed to offer adequate head protection for the driver and good protection for the front passenger. Neck protection was good in both cases, but the driver chest showed weak protection.
However, the body structure and footwell were still rated as “unstable” while the child occupant crash performance was deemed poor as the dummy’s head contacted the interior of the car. The lack of ISOFIX anchorages also contributed to the car’s two-star rating.
Haval H1 - 2 Stars
Like the Kwid, the Haval H1 compact SUV was awarded two stars for both adult and child protection.
While the structure was rated as unstable, Global NCAP did find head and neck protection to be “good” for both the driver and passenger, however chest and foot protection for the driver was deemed weak.
On the child protection front, this car did at least have ISOFIX anchorages, however, the manufacturer did not recommend a child seat and using the one chosen by Global NCAP, both child dummys’ heads contacted the car during the crash tests.
These are the South African cars that have been tested by Global NCAP so far:
Still a long way to go for South African vehicle safety
Commenting on the zero-star rating attained by the GWM Steed, Global NCAP Secretary General Alejandro Furas said: “Another zero star rated ‘Bakkie’ gives us very serious cause for concern in our latest crash test results for Africa. The potential for life threatening injury in the Steed 5 follows the zero star performance of the Nissan Hardbody pick up.
“The contrast between the marketing claims for such vehicles and the reality of their poor safety performance could not be more stark.”
Towards Zero Foundation President David Ward added: “This is a worrying set of results for the safety of both adult and child occupants in these popular African cars.
“Our second #SaferCarsforAfrica zero rating in the ‘Bakkie” category, with the high probability of life threatening injury, should be ringing alarm bells for any consumer considering the purchase of a Steed 5 pick up.
AA South Africa CEO Willem Groenewald reiterated the call for an improvement in the safety standards set by government.
“We have spoken to the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards about standards and although the evidence is clear, we are eager to see movement in this regard. Action is needed, and needed now because it’s about protecting South African citizens.”