Johannesburg - Back in 2020, Global NCAP gave the Suzuki S-Presso a zero-star safety rating after crash testing the Indian-built budget car.
However at the time Suzuki Auto South Africa argued that its version of the car, although built in the same plant, was safer as it came with more safety equipment. Whereas the Indian market model made do with a single airbag, SA’s version gained a front passenger airbag as well as front seat belt pre-tensioners, which tighten the seat belts during a collision.
At the time there was no way of proving how much safer it was, but now Global NCAP, in conjunction with the Automobile Association, has crash tested the South African spec S-Presso and it achieved a three-star rating for adult occupant protection.
Watch the crash test video below:
Unfortunately the vehicle only matched the Indian-spec model’s two-star child protection rating.
According to Global NCAP, the SA-spec S-Presso narrowly avoided a two-star adult occupant rating as the structure became unstable during the crash and protection of the driver’s chest was deemed weak.
According to the test chart, chest protection for the front passenger was rated as adequate, while head protection for both front occupants was good.
It’s important to note, however, that side impact protection was not tested under this protocol, although that, along with pedestrian protection, will be added to future assessments as of July.
The crash testing authority explained that the S-Presso’s two star child protection score was due to a lack of ISOFIX anchorages as well as the fact that the carmaker does not recommend a particular child seat. The vehicle also lacks a three-point rear middle seat belt.
“The safety performance of the S-Presso in South Africa has been far from satisfactory and claims of improvement are not reflected in levels of child occupant protection which remain the same as the Indian version we tested in 2020,” said Global NCAP General Secretary Alejandro Furas.
“There has been significant progress with vehicle safety in the Indian market with a welcome requirement for the fitment of six airbags as standard. We hope that Maruti Suzuki will not apply a double standard for the vehicles they sell in Africa compared to those sold in India.”
Automobile Association CEO Willem Groenewald said that while the adult occupancy result for the Suzuki was encouraging, there was certainly room for improvement in the area of child safety.
“The safety of motorists in South Africa is critical and we welcome the visible efforts by manufacturers in this regard and urge them to continue investing in this important facet of their production.”