Wed, 11 Dec 2019
Two five-star BMWs and two four-star rated cars from Peugeot and Jeep paint a mixed picture in last month’s Euro NCAP safety ratings.
The 97 per cent Adult Occupant Protection score awarded to the BMW 3 Series is one of the highest seen in 2019.
However, Thatcham Research director of research Matthew Avery suggested that “whilst good, its 76 per cent score for safety technologies is down on the 94 per cent benchmark set by the Tesla Model 3 earlier this year.
“The BMW 1 Series also scored a top Euro NCAP rating, but again did not quite meet the standard set by the Mercedes A-Class in 2018.
“This goes to show how Euro NCAP ratings are driving an incredibly competitive safety market.”
Following an unprecedented sequence of top awards for all cars rated so far in 2019, the Jeep Cherokee and Peugeot 208 are the first to fall below the five-star bar set by Euro NCAP’s rigorous testing regime.
Mr Avery said: “The Peugeot 208’s four-star rating is respectable, but the car is not a good choice if you’re carrying adults in the back, with its ‘Poor’ whiplash protection for rear passengers.
“Protecting both front and rear occupants is especially important as families continue to downsize from larger vehicles.”
“The Jeep Cherokee is an improvement on last year’s one-star Wrangler.
“However, there’s still a long way to go before Jeep can get back to producing five-star cars like the 2017 Compass.
“The Cherokee’s Adult Occupant Protection (80 per cent) and Child Occupant (78 per cent) scores are the lowest awarded in 2019, while the front and rear seats again offered marginal whiplash protection.
“Its low-speed autonomous emergency braking system didn’t meet the mark either.”
Thatcham Research’s pioneering whiplash testing saw it invited to become a Euro NCAP member in 2007.
The testing was introduced into the Euro NCAP programme “at a time when neck injury insurance claims for whiplash were causing widespread industry alarm,” Mr Avery said.
In 2000, only 16 per cent of seats were rated ‘Good’.
In 2007, that figure had almost doubled to 29 per cent. Today the figure is closer to 100 per cent.
Mr Avery said: “Whiplash is now a key part of carmaker safety strategy and seats today are specifically designed to protect occupants’ necks.
“Although the whiplash results seen in this round of testing don’t represent a significant backward step, the safety of rear seat occupants should remain a priority.”
Thatcham Research, based in Colthrop Way, is the independent voice of automotive safety, security and repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’, while driving standards in vehicle security.