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Mike Stevens | Nov 2, 2010

Frightening new crash safety test results from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has prompted calls for manufacturers to improve the safety performance of utility vehicles to match passenger cars.

In the latest round of ANCAP crash testing, the SsangYong Actyon Sports ute achieved only a 3-Star rating and 24.01 points, out of a maximum five stars and 37 points.

Worryingly, the Actyon Sports ute managed only a 7.01 score out of 16 in the offset crash test, with the passenger compartment suffering "excessive floor deformation and pedal intrusion."

Protection from serious leg injury was judged to be poor, with the standard seatbelts and pretensioners providing only marginal chest protection.

Demonstrating the strict nature of ANCAP testing, the Actyon Sports' low score comes despite it being equipped with dual front airbags and ABS brakes.

The tested model of Ssangyong Actyon Sports Ute was introduced in Australia in 2008.

“Today we have 5-star ANCAP cars in all categories, so there is no reason for fleet managers not to meet their duty of care in their occupational health and safety policies with the selection of 5-star rated cars,” ANCAP Chair Lauchlan McIntosh said.

NRMA's Jack Haley shared Mr McIntosh's concern, urging manufacturers to lift the safety standards for their utility vehicles, and for fleet managers to choose wisely.

"This Ssangyong joins vehicles like the Proton Jumbuck, Mahindra Pik-Up, Mitsubishi Express and Great Wall Motors V240 with an ANCAP rating of 3 stars or worse," NRMA's Jack Haley said.

"Today we have 5-star ANCAP vehicles in all categories, so fleet managers have a choice when considering their commercial fleets."

Utility vehicles carrying 5-Star ratings include the Holden Commodore Ute and the Ford Falcon Ute and the Mercedes-Benz Vito, while the Mitsubishi Triton, Hyundai iLoad van carry 4-Star safety ratings.

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