Global NCAP and the Automobile Association have released fresh #SaferCarsForAfrica crash-test results, this time for the South African-specification Renault Kwid, Haval H1 and GWM Steed 5. This follows after the organisations allocated ratings to the Suzuki S-Presso, Hyundai Grand i10 and Kia Seltos last month.
As in the previous rounds of Global NCAP tests, the Renault, Haval and GWM were subjected to 64-kph frontal impacts to test their respective levels of adult occupant crash safety. Then, to calculate the child safety ratings, tests were conducted on the effectiveness of the Child Restraint Systems (CRS) as/if recommended by the manufacturers. The assessment checked how compatible the vehicles were with prescribed CRS units.
The organisations, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the FIA Foundation, commented that the Haval and Renault's "poor levels of adult and child protection (gave) serious cause for concern". The GWM, which scored 0 stars, "demonstrated a high probability of life-threatening injury."
Renault Kwid – 2 stars
Since a Kwid equipped with a driver's airbag was tested by Global NCAP in India in late 2016 (it scored 1 star), its structure has been improved. When a Brazilian-made version (with dual front and side airbags, plus ABS) was subsequently tested by Latin NCAP, it achieved 3 stars.
The model sold in South Africa is, of course, made in India and since its recent facelift, the Kwid comes standard with 2 front airbags. Global NCAP said that in this latest test, the protection offered by the budget car to the driver's head was "adequate" and "good" for the front passenger.
The results showed that the Renault offered good protection for the front occupants' necks, but weak protection for the driver's chest. An unstable body structure, unstable footwell structure and pedal movement explain the Kwid's 2-star rating for adult occupant protection, NCAP added.
"The child occupant protection showed poor performance as the dummy's head contacted the interior of the car. The lack of 3-point seat belts in all seating positions and lack of ISOfix anchorages contributed to the 2-star rating for child occupant protection."
Haval H1 – 2 stars
The long-serving Haval H1, previously known as the GWM M4, comes with 2 frontal airbags as standard. In this round of testing, the injuries recorded to the test dummy driver and front passenger's head and neck indicated a good level of protection, while there was weak protection for the driver's chest and good protection for the front passenger's chest. Poor front feet protection, together with the overall results for the driver, an unstable structure and an unstable footwell area explain the H1's 2-star rating for adult occupant protection, NCAP said.
Child occupant protection was negatively affected because Haval did not indicate a CRS for use in the test. The CRS selected by Global NCAP utilised the vehicle's available ISO anchorages, but both child dummies' heads contacted the car during the test. What's more, a lack of proper ISOfix markings and a passenger airbag-disabling switch resulted in a 2-star child occupant protection rating for the H1, the organisation added.
Great Wall Steed 5 – 0 stars
The GWM Steed 5 (without airbags fitted) was the 2nd bakkie to be tested by Global NCAP following Nissan NP300 Hardbody in 2018. The organisation chose the Steed 5 because it competes on price with the long-serving Nissan and like the Hardbody, the Steed 5 got a 0-star rating.
Post-impact, readings on the driver dummy suggested poor protection for the head and weak protection for the neck and chest (those body parts are considered critical body regions by Global NCAP). The Steed 5's structure was considered unstable, as was its footwell: "The deformation in the passenger compartment and movement of the steering column questions if an airbag would be able to prevent serious injuries to the driver."
As the manufacturer "decided not to recommend a child restraint system (CRS) for the test", NCAP said, 0 points were awarded for the child occupant dynamic assessment score. The CRS for a dummy of a 3-year-old child broke during the impact due to the poor performance of the restraint system. The Steed 5 does not have ISOfix anchorages for the child seats in the rear and lacks 3-point belts in all seating positions.
In response, Alejandro Furas, Global NCAP's secretary-general said: “Another 0-star rated bakkie gives us very serious cause for concern in our latest crash test results for Africa. The potential for life-threatening injury in the Steed 5 follows the 0-star performance of the Nissan Hardbody. The contrast between the marketing claims for such vehicles and the reality of their poor safety performance could not be starker.”
David Ward, the president of the Towards Zero Foundation, commented: “This is a worrying set of results for the safety of both adult and child occupants in these popular African cars. Our second #SaferCarsforAfrica zero-rating in the bakkie category, with the high probability of life0threatening injury, should be ringing alarm bells for any consumer considering the purchase of a Steed 5 pickup.
“With successful crash test programmes in India and Latin America, we can track the varying safety equipment specifications for cars manufactured in one market and sold in others. It’s therefore surprising to note that the Kwid developed for Latin America, based on the original Indian version, has a better adult and child occupant protection performance, includes standard ISOFIX anchorages as well as dual front and side airbags.”
Willem Groenewald, AA South Africa CEO added: “I concur with both Ale and David that these results are worrisome and cause for concern. Since the #SaferCarsforAfrica programme’s first results were launched in 2017 we’ve been calling for an improvement in the safety standards set by the government. These results again confirm the urgent need for this to happen; we simply cannot have unsafe cars on our roads anymore.