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Utes achieve 4 stars in crash tests

4 APRIL, 2006

Three of the more popular commercial utilities on the Australian market have received four stars in the latest ANCAP crash test results released today by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) partners RACV, VicRoads and the TAC.

The good news to come out of the tests is that three of the utes tested received a four-star rating.

The Toyota Hilux 4x2 and 4x4 models and Ford Falcon utes all scored four-star ratings, which shows that they provide occupants with good protection during crashes.

It appears that the Ford Falcon ute has benefited from being derived from a passenger vehicle.

The Mitsubishi Triton 4x2 and Mazda Bravo 4x4 (also sold as the Ford Courier 4X4) scored only two stars out of five in the latest ANCAP tests.

The tests found these utes provided poor protection for occupants in a crash test.

It is not surprising that the two utes that scored two-stars did not have airbags in the variants tested.

Most passenger vehicles that have been tested by ANCAP receive at least a four-star rating, so it is concerning that not all the utes were able to reach these levels.

Drivers of utes, like tradespeople and couriers, often travel many kilometres and are more exposed to crashes. That is why these vehicles must provide a level of passenger protection that is at least on par with passenger vehicles.

Since ANCAP last tested utes in 2002 the Toyota Hilux has improved to a four-star rating.

There will be new models of the Mitsubishi Triton and Mazda Bravo/Ford Courier on sale later this year and ANCAP calls on the manufacturers to make driver and passenger airbags standard on their new models.

Pedestrian testing showed that this group of utes were in the one star rating meaning a high risk of severe injury to a pedestrian if hit at 40 km/h.

The crash test procedures conducted by ANCAP involve a frontal test at 64 km/h where part of the vehicle hits a barrier, and a side impact test at 50 km/h. The vehicles also undergo a test to assess likely injuries caused to pedestrians by a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h.

A pole test is optional, where the vehicle travelling sideways at 29 km/h strikes a round pole lined up with the driver's head. This measures the effectiveness of head protecting side airbags and can result in extra points being scored. None of the utes had head protecting side airbags and no pole tests were carried out.

The results from ANCAP provide consumers with valuable information on the occupant protection performance of new vehicles.

ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, all state governments, the New Zealand Government and the FIA Foundation.


Contact:          RACV             Denis Brown               9790 2572

                       TAC                Anna Chalko               9664 6862

                      VicRoads        Jennifer Howard         9854 2335

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