Euro NCAP recalls its achievements, how safety has improved and its first controversial crash tests.
Supermini test results for 1997
Euro NCAP – the independent body that assesses the safety credentials of cars – has crash tested a Rover and Honda built years apart to mark its 20th birthday and confirm how safety has improved. Euro NCAP was first to perform realistic, like-for-like, crash tests in Europe. Drivers, therefore, no longer have to rely solely on manufacturer claims while evaluating potential purchases.
Euro NCAP explained that its early tests “sparked outrage” among consumer groups, motorists and the media as some popular, big selling, supermini class vehicles failed to impress. The Rover 100 scored 1 of a maximum 4 stars, for example. Rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa, Nissan Micra, Renault Clio and Fiat Punto earned 2.
Leading car manufacturers argued that the crash tests were so severe that it was “impossible” for a vehicle to receive the maximum rating, Euro NCAP recalled. Months later, however, the Volvo S40 became first to receive 4 stars for occupant protection.
Euro NCAP helped save 78,000 lives in the following years, it estimated. It published more than 630 safety ratings and tested 1,800 vehicles. Within Europe, 9 out of 10 now have a Euro NCAP rating and the industry works consistently to produce safer models.
Rover 100 and Honda Jazz test results
Euro NCAP crash tested a Rover 100 (1997) and a Honda Jazz (2015) for its 20th birthday. Each hit a concrete block, off-centre, at 40mph. The objective was to simulate a motorist wandering across the centre line of a carriageway into the path of oncoming traffic.
The Rover performed badly at its crash test. Whereas the bonnet caved in – as intended to absorb energy - the roof buckled, the driver's door partially opened, the windscreen fell from its mounting and numerous parts pushed backward into the passenger compartment. Note, however, that by 1997 the 100 was an old design.
The 2015 Honda Jazz performed better. Like the Rover its bonnet deformed to absorb energy from the impact, but the passenger compartment remained relatively intact to protect its occupants. There was no catastrophic buckling of the roof, the driver's door remained closed and the windscreen stayed in position (and intact).
Euro NCAP provides motorists with confidence
Euro NCAP Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, said: “Euro NCAP has given millions of consumers the knowledge and confidence to choose the safest cars possible. Recent years have shown a slowdown in the progress rate, however, so we mustn’t take our foot off the gas.”
“We want to ensure that Europe’s roads get even safer in the next 20 years, not just for car occupants but for all participants in traffic. We already test many more aspects of a car’s safety than we did when we started in 1997, and that is set to continue.”