Datsun RediGo, the entry level hatchback from the sub brand owned by Japan's Nissan Motor Corporation scored a disappointing 1 star for adult occupant protection in the latest round of crash tests conducted by Global NCAP, a UK based independent charity body.
These are the first such crash test conducted on cars in India after new safety norms that stipulate all cars to have at least a driver airbag, seat belt reminders, speed alert system and reverse parking sensors. RediGo's stablemate Datsun Go that was tested by the same firm back in 2014 had scored zero stars. The addition of the airbag has resulted in the improvement for RediGo but it still remains an unsafe vehicle.
The other three cars tested by Global NCAP in this round were Maruti Wagon R and Ertiga and Hyundai Santro. Like the RediGo, the Wagon R and Santro were equipped with a single driver airbag and scored 2 stars each. Ertiga with dual airbags scored three stars.
The absolute scores for the cars for adult safety actually shows RediGo (8.36 out of a maximum 17 points) scored more than Wagon R (6.93) and Santro (6.74) but ended up getting a single star against 2 stars of the other two because it offered poor protection to the chest of the driver, which means a high probability of life threatening injuries. Ertiga had a score of 9.25.
"The latest results in our #SaferCarsforIndia crash tests show a mixed safety performance, and disappointingly, there are no five star performers. The Suzuki Maruti Ertiga achieves a creditable three stars for both adult and child occupant protection, but it's obvious to us that more can and should be done to improve overall protection levels for cars sold in the market," said David Ward, CEO and President of Global NCAP.
Global NCAP, which wants to help stop production of all zero safety star rated cars around the world, first grabbed headlines in India on the eve of the biennial Delhi motor show in January 2014 when it tested five Indian cars. All of them -- Tata Nano, Maruti Alto 800, Hyundai i10, Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo, fared miserably and scored a zero. Since then it has given heart burn to Indian car companies on numerous occasions.
Ten months later, Datsun Go and Maruti Swift could not muster the pass marks. In 2016, the base variants of the Kwid, Hyundai Eon, Maruti Celerio, Eeco, Honda Mobilio, Tata Zest and Mahindra Scorpio, all scored zero stars as well. Testing in subsequent years expanded the list of zero star rated cars in India further to include the Renault Duster and Chevrolet Enjoy in the list.
With the four cars of this round, Global NCAP has so far tested 35 cars across 26 brands in India. The results are far from flattering. An overwhelming 19 cars have scored zero stars, two have scored 1 star, three cars scored 2 stars, 4 cars have 3 stars and 6 have scored 4 stars. Only one car, the Tata Nexon compact SUV has scored the maximum 5 stars till date in India.
In recent times, there has been an increasing awareness towards safety both among the manufacturers as well as consumers. Unlike before, most of the cars being sold in India today come with features like dual airbags and ABS as standard. This is reflected in the relatively better scores that Indian cars have got in recent tests conducted by Global NCAP.
"The Indian government's crash test standards are clearly helping to eliminate any new zero star cars from the market, and we will continue to work with them to ensure the push of regulatory requirements is complimented by the pull of consumer awareness, encouraging the demand for ever higher levels of safety," Ward added.
Global NCAP said the structure of the three cars - RediGo, Wagon R and Santro, were found to be unstable while Ertiga has a borderline unstable performance that could be improved.
Redi Go's footwell area was rated as unstable, head protection for driver was adequate due to steering wheel displacements while for that of the passenger was good. Driver and passenger neck protection was also good but chest protection was poor for the driver and marginal for the passenger. Child occupant protection also showed poor results mainly because of the contact of the head of the dummy 18 month old with the front seat and for the exposed head of the dummy 3 year old during the impact. It received 8.36 out of a maximum 17 points for adult protection and 15.63 out of a maximum possible 49 points for child protection.
Besides the 2 stars for adult protection, the WagonR also received two stars for child occupant protection. The footwell area of the car was rated as unstable and pedal displacement showed some risk to the lower legs of the driver. Head protection for adult occupants was good while neck protection for driver was good and adequate for passenger. Chest protection was weak for both front passengers leading to limitations in the SBR points achieved by this model. Child occupant protection showed poor results mainly for the 3 year old dummy as its Child Restraint System (CRS) broke during the impact and the head impacted the front seat. Chest protection for the dummy 18 month old was low despite being it being rearward facing.
The Santro, which had the lowest score for adult protection of all the four cars also achieved two stars for child occupant protection with a score of 15 out of a possible 49. Like the Wagon R, the car's footwell area was rated as unstable and head and neck protection for adult occupants was good. Chest protection was weak for the driver and marginal for the passenger leading to a limitation of the SBR points achieved by this model for the driver. Child occupant protection showed poor results mainly because the manufacturers did not recommend a CRS for the test. The dynamic performance was poor as the head of the 3 year old showed contact during the impact. There was limited protection for the 3 year old neck while the 18 month old received acceptable protection.
The best of the lot, Ertiga also scored the highest three stars for child occupant protection with a score of 25.16. Though the car's footwell area was also rated as unstable and pedals displacement showed risks to the lower legs of the driver, head and neck protection for adult occupants was good and so was chest protection for passenger. The driver received marginal protection on his chest. The passenger pretensioner however failed to work properly. Ertiga offers standard ISOFIX anchorages which increased its score but child occupant protection still showed poor results for the 18 month old dummy with the CRS installed forward facing while global best practice indicates a rearward facing position offers better protection.