Mike Stevens | Sep 24, 2010

As a first step in its expanded testing roadmap, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has today announced it will extend its star ratings system to individual variants in each model's range.

With extensive trial testing taking place over the past year, the new policy extends the ANCAP crash test result from a tested model variant to similar variants across the model range, subject to stringent conditions.

Under the new system, the crash test result for a petrol-engined vehicle could also be applied to a diesel variant, and a three-door result can cover a five-door variant in the same range.

Similarly, crash test results for a 2WD would also cover a 4WD variant, along with vehicles with different engine sizes and bodystyles (hatch and sedan, a la the Mazda6).

ANCAP Chair Lachlan McIntosh said that while the policy is good news for buyers, it would not be applicable in every possible scenario.

"Not all variants can have ratings applied under this policy. In these cases, ANCAP will conduct a crash test on the variant as part of the regular crash test program,” he said.

“This initiative, coupled with additional 5-year funding recently received from the Federal Government, brings ANCAP closer to achieving its goal of having an ANCAP safety rating for all popular makes, models and variants of vehicles.”

Last week, ANCAP announced a roadmap for the future that will see the program's crash test performance standards raised to include pedestrian safety, whiplash protection and roof strength in each vehicle's overall star rating.

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