Four vehicles have been rated by safety watchdog ANCAP, with the Great Wall Steed ute scoring the lowest marks at two stars.
Stella Stocks, general manager of motoring services at AA, told Auofile it’s very disappointing that two-star vehicles are sold new in New Zealand.
“The biggest issue for AA is that two-star vehicles can still come in to the country and be sold new. People need to buy the safest vehicle they can afford, and they should check out all the safety features and the ANCAP rating and the areas of concern in the vehicle before they buy.
“Most cars and many utes have five stars, and they are in the secondhand market,” she says.
ANCAP CEO James Goodwin also found the results disappointing. “Despite claims from the vehicle brand that the Chinese dual cab is ‘all-new’ and offers ‘outstanding levels of performance, value, safety and comfort,’ the underpinnings of the Steed differ little to that of the previous generation,” he says.
“While Great Wall Motors has added safety assist technology not available on its earlier offering to the market, the Steed’s structural integrity is like a step back in time,” Stocks added.
“In new cars today we expect to see a very high standard of occupant protection during a crash test. However, the Steed doesn’t come close to meeting that expectation.”
The previous-generation V240 ute also received a two-star rating when it was tested in 2009. The model was discontinued in 2016.
The dual-cab Steed was released in September last year after a new distributor took over from independent importer Ateco Automotive in July 2016.
“While the Steed is equipped with six airbags and electronic stability control, features which were not offered on the previous model, there has been little change to the vehicle’s structure to improve the safety of the passenger cabin,” Goodwin added.
Concerning results from ANCAP included excessive footwell deformation, separation of footwell panels and pedal displacement in the frontal offset crash test, which scored 8.3 out of 16.
Driver and front passenger protection from whiplash was rated marginal, and ANCAP warned that without top-tether child restraints, the ute was unsuitable for transporting young children.
However, three other vehicles received five-star ratings – The Honda Civic sedan and hatch, the Hyundai i30 (and all variants) and the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo Activity van.
The five-star rating applies to all variants of the Honda Civic sedan, with the hatch to be released locally in May. The Type R is the exception and is unrated.
The top rating for the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo Activity applies to all models built from January 2017.