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Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is slowly working its way into more and more cars at a lower price point, and now the Euro NCAP safety ratings bureau has announced that starting in 2014, cars will have to include AEB as standard equipment if they hope to gain a five-star safety rating.
The Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) has just released its latest crash test results of 10 2011 models, and nine vehicles take top spots by earning five star ratings.
Coming out on top are the Audi A6, the BMW X3, the Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Orlando, the Citroën DS5, the Hyundai i40, the Opel Ampera, the VW Golf Cabriolet and Jetta. Coming in with four stars is the Kia Picanto, which does not come with standard Electronic Stability Control.
In the plug-in and electric category, the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera earned top marks, and for child occupant protection, the Hyundai i40 and VW Jetta and Golf Cabriolet scored 86 percent. The Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Orlando came out with good whiplash and adult occupant protection scores.
However, the Opel Ampera, Audi A6 and Citroën DS5 just met Euro NCAP’s 2011 pedestrian requirements for a five star rating. More stringent five star requirements will be put into place in 2012.
For can view all the test result scores on Euro NCAP’s website.
The Nissan Leaf became the first EV to get a five star crash test rating from the Euro NCAP program, after scoring well in all categories involving passenger safety, on-board safety systems and pedestrian safety.
Also notable was the car’s lithium-ion battery system, which according to Nissan “completely withstood all the impacts.” “The Nissan Leaf proves that EVs can achieve the same safety levels as traditional cars. The standard is now set for the next generation of such cars on the European market,” said Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen.
The Leaf scored better than the Volvo V60, the Lexus CT200h and the Ford Focus for pedestrian safety. The Leaf scored 65 percent on the pedestrian safety test, better than the 60 percent required to gain a top score in the category.
Electronic stability control systems save lives. That’s a fact. And as a result every vehicle now sold in the U.S. comes with a stability control system. But only a fraction of cars sold come with full defeatable ESC – the type that lets you shut off all the electronic nannies and hand the tail end out like you’re filming an episode of Top Gear.
Those days may soon be over, however, thanks to the European New Car Assessment Program, or Euro-NCAP. The overseas safety body, which performs standardized crash testing of vehicles on the continent is currently studying whether to grade automakers on the effectiveness of their ESP systems. Much like how it assigns a star rating to a crash test, the suggested new rules would have the agency rank how significant the engagement of a stability control system is, as well as how early it intervenes. A vehicle with a fully defeatable system could receive a rating of zero.
If this ranking were then integrated into the overall safety score, in order for an automaker to achieve a coveted 5 Star rating, it would have to have as intrusive a stability control system as possible. And if such a system were to be implemented in Europe, how long before it would be mandated here?
Think the idea of a BMW M3 with no DSC-off switch is science fiction? May we remind you, while the Lexus GX460 SUV is no M3, it was the focus of some bad press last year as a result of its ESC program. After testing the vehicle, the editors at Consumer Reports put the luxo-Ute on its “Do Not Buy” list due to rollover concerns as a result of a stability control system that did not engage early enough. Lexus then recalled the SUV, uploaded some new software and won back the favor of CR.
Has it already begun? Do you want to live in a world without fully-defeatable stability control?
[Source: Car & Driver]