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#SaferCarsForAfrica: Two more SA-spec compact cars tested

How safe is the Mazda2

The Mazda2 was awarded four stars for occupant protection.

Published Dec 9, 2021


Johannesburg: Global NCAP, in partnership with the Automobile Association (AA), has subjected another two South African-spec cars to its independent crash-testing protocol.

The Mazda 2 hatchback, which is sourced from Thailand, achieved a four-star rating for adult protection as well as three stars for child protection. The Nissan Almera sedan, which is imported from India, was awarded three stars for adult and child protection.

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AA spokesperson Layton Beard told the media during a virtual conference that both cars were purchased brand new in Gauteng before being shipped off to the Global NCAP facility in Munich, Germany.

A Nissan Almera, when it comes to the crunch.

Although overall protection was deemed adequate, Global NCAP raised the concern that both cars suffered driver’s seat failures during the crash testing, which was more severe in the Nissan. In the Mazda’s case, the seat backrest impacted the crash test dummy’s back, while the Nissan’s seat partially derailed.

Global NCAP warned that both failures could increase the risk of injury.

“Global NCAP calls on both carmakers to review these failures as a matter of urgency. We would also call on them to improve the basic safety offered in these models as standard, adding Electronic Stability Control (ESC), pedestrian protection and side body and head airbags as soon as possible.”

In terms of structural integrity, the Mazda’s bodyshell was rated as stable, while the Nissan’s was deemed unstable and incapable of withstanding further loadings. The footwells in both were rated as unstable.

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The latest results bring the total of SA-spec cars tested by Global NCAP to 18.

Three vehicles have been handed zero-star ratings (Nissan Hardbody, GWM Steed 5 and Cherry QQ3), while the Datsun Go+ was given a single star and the Haval H1 and Renault Kwid received two stars.

Most cars tested thus far have achieved three stars, including popular compact hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Polo Vivo and the recently discontinued Toyota Yaris, while the Toyota Etios and Honda Amaze managed four stars. The Mahindra XUV300 is the only five-star car thus far.

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“#SaferCarsforAfrica is an important programme for the AA as we continue to push for better safety standards on vehicles for local consumers,” said AA SA chief executive Willem Groenewald. “The results of the fifth round of testing are encouraging, especially the four-star rating achieved by the Mazda 2.

“However, the results show there are still some safety deficiencies on vehicles available in South Africa and this should, again, serve as a marker to manufacturers and safety authorities of the need for improved basic safety features which should be offered as standard on all models available locally.”

Global NCAP said it planned to improve its assessment protocol for African cars in the coming years, to pedestrian protection and crash-preventing active safety features.

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