Johannesburg - Global NCAP has released the results of its second crash test for South African-spec vehicles, in partnership with the Automobile Association, and a popular one-tonner has effectively been deemed a death trap.

The locally-built Nissan NP300 Hardbody scored zero stars for adult occupant protection, while the other three SA-spec (but imported) passenger cars that were tested as part of this latest round - namely the Hyundai i20, Kia Picanto and Toyota Yaris - all received three stars.

Global NCAP Secretary General David Ward was scathing in his prognosis of the Nissan bakkie:

“A trio of three star results are acceptable but the zero star Nissan NP300 is shockingly bad. It is astonishing that a global company like Nissan can produce a car today as poorly engineered as this. The NP300 ‘Hardbody’ is ridiculously misnamed as its body shell has collapsed.”

According to the crash testing authority, the Nissan’s occupant compartment completely failed to absorb the energy of the crash, resulting in “a high risk of fatality or serious injury.”

During the standard 64km/h frontal crash test, the bakkie's structure effectively collapsed and was rated as unstable, while the part that was actually meant to collapse - the steering column - failed to do so, creating additional risk for the driver. See the full report here.

Even with an airbag (dual front airbags are fitted), the dummy driver’s chest and head showed high biomechanical readings. The NP300 received two stars for child occupant protection.

Another factor to consider is that as with many other workhorse spec bakkies sold in South Africa, including the freshly launched Isuzu D-Max, you’re more likely to get into an accident in the first place as ABS braking is not fitted as standard to base spec single cab models, although it is fitted to Nissan's double cabs.

Here’s how the rest of the vehicles performed:

Toyota Yaris: The structure was rated as unstable, with “marginal to good” general adult occupant protection. Using the recommended child seats, it warranted a three-star child safety rating. Full report here.

Hyundai i20: General adult protection levels varied from marginal to good, although the footwell area was rated as unstable. It’s also worth nothing that SA models lack the side airbags fitted to European equivalents. The i20 received two stars for child protection. Full report here.

Kia Picanto: The Picanto’s overall structure was found to be stable, but like its Hyundai cousin, the footwell was unstable, and the child safety rating amounted to two stars. The latter is due to Isofix anchorages detatching during the crash test. Full report here.

IOL Motoring