File picture: Volvo.
File picture: Volvo.
New Ford Focus.
New Ford Focus.
Volvo XC40.
Volvo XC40.

Brussels - Many vehicles have struggled to achieve commendable results in the increasingly stringent EuroNCAP safety assessments.

In fact we’ve purposefully avoided using the term ‘crash test’ here as ratings awarded by Europe’s top crash testing authority are influenced by a lot more than just crunched metal and mangled dummies. Today a car can’t do well if it isn’t fitted with a full complement of ‘active’ safety features - the kind that can help prevent an accident in the first place.

However the most recent pair of cars to undergo EuroNCAP scrutiny - the new-generation Ford Focus and Volvo’s first-ever XC40 - both achieved the coveted five-star overall rating with flying colours.

Particularly impressive was how the Volvo aced the actual crash test component, scoring 97 percent for adult protection. In occupant cushioning terms, this puts it among the five safest cars tested by EuroNCAP in the last three years.

Assessors were also highly impressed by the Volvo's emergency lane keeping technology which, in emergency situations, helps to prevent the car from leaving the road or from being steered into the path of oncoming traffic.

The XC40 scored 76 percent for safety assist features, 87 percent for child occupant protection and 71 percent for shielding “vulnerable road users” such as pedestrians.

The Ford Focus, as did the XC40, scored “safety assist” points for its autonomous emergency braking system that aims to detect pedestrians as well as cyclists.

In the actual crash tests, the Focus achieved an 85 percent score for its protection of adult occupants, 87 percent for child occupants and 72 percent for vulnerable road users. The new Focus is due to hit SA streets in early 2019.

EuroNCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen enthused:

“It’s good to see that manufacturers, both in the premium sector and the volume market, are responding to our tough new requirements introduced in 2018 by fitting technologies that will save lives. 

“Technologies like AEB and ELK deliver immediate safety benefits but they are also enabling technologies for the autonomous vehicles of the future. Euro NCAP’s roadmap sets a series of demanding tests for each of these ‘milestone’ technologies seeking to ensure that their performance saves lives today as well as tomorrow.”

IOL Motoring