Mike Stevens | Nov 27, 2009

THE LATEST ROUND of Euro NCAP testing - The European equivalent to Australia's ANCAP - has seen 10 out of 12 tested cars awarded 5-Star safety ratings.

Of the two that missed out on the full five stars, the Toyota Urban Cruiser received just 3-Stars, with only a 58 percent result in the Adult Occupant Protection category.

The Chevrolet Spark - an ultra-small car expected to wear a Holden badge in 2010 - managed 4-Stars, marked down due to the absence of electronic stability control (ESC).

It may be a different story when the Spark reaches the Australian market. With the Australian Federal Government requiring all new cars sold in Australia to offer ESC as standard by November 2011, a 'Holden Spark' equipped with the system would likely achieve a 5-Star ANCAP crash safety rating.

The top scorers included the BMW X1, Chevrolet Cruze, Citroën DS3, Infiniti FX, Mazda 3, Mercedes E-Class, Mercedes GLK, Opel Astra, Peugeot 5008 and the Volkswagen Scirocco.

Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General, said the results showed that consumers should never allow brand loyalty to greatly influence their new car purchase.

"Chevrolet has bounced back [from the Aveo/Holden Barina's 1-Star result in 2006] with two cars that have a commendable level of safety performance," Dr van Ratingen said.

"The result from Toyota is disappointing, but in 2010, we predict further results like these as Euro NCAP’s next stage of the rating scheme kicks in and requirements become even tougher.

"Consumers should check Euro NCAP scores when looking to buy a new car and should not make presumptions about a car’s safety performance due to the brand it carries."

Toyota has announced that is investigating the Urban Cruiser's 3-Star result.

"In 2009, we received a 5-Star rating for all three new cars that were evaluated by Euro NCAP (iQ, Avensis and Prius)," a Toyota statement reads.

"We are therefore very surprised that the Urban Cruiser received only a 3-Star rating from Euro NCAP. As with any other Toyota vehicle, we had submitted the Urban Cruiser to rigorous in-house tests, which indicated that it would secure a 5-Star rating.

"We are currently investigating the Euro NCAP result in detail, in order to understand why there is a difference between our Toyota assessment and Euro NCAP's rating.

"Together with other car makers, we are also discussing with Euro NCAP certain aspects of their evaluation methodology, which might also explain why the rating is lower than we expected.

"We remain fully convinced that Urban Cruiser is a safe car."

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