As Nissan's Leaf EV draws closer to its 2012 local launch, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded the new hatch a 5 Star crash safety rating - a first for an electric vehicle in Australia.
The Leaf scored 33.62 points out of a possible 37 points in ANCAP's testing criteria, with the passenger compartment holding its shape well and scoring 13.62 from a possible 16 points.
Protection from serious leg injury was graded as marginal for the driver and front passenger, while side impact tests saw the Leaf score a full 16 points out of 16. A further two points were scored in the pole test.
“Electric vehicles are a genuine option for today’s new car buyers - it is good news for consumers to see the Nissan Leaf record this top safety rating,” ANCAP Chair Lauchlan McIntosh said.
The tested Leaf is an example of the specification available in Nissan Australia's small local test fleet, featuring six airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist and electronic stability control.
Nissan Australia has confirmed that the Nissan Leaf destined for sale in Australia has the same safety specification as the tested vehicle.
2012 Ford Focus
Highlighting Ford's safety focus for the new model, the 2012 Focus scored 15.04 out of 16 in the offset crash test. The report shows that the passenger compartment held its shape well, with only a slight risk of serious lower leg injury for the driver.
The vehicle scored 15.13 out of 16 in the side impact crash, with a slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver. The Focus scored a further two points in the pole test.
Dual front airbags, side airbags and head-protecting side curtains, seatbelt reminders and pretensioners are standard equipment. Anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist and electronic stability control are also standard.
The new Focus will make its Australian market debut at this week's Australian International Motor Show (AIMS).
2011 Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai's all-new 2011 Elantra is also set for a local debut at AIMS this week, and now the Korean carmaker can trumpet the small car's top-shelf 5 Star ANCAP crash safety rating.
“Hyundai has made a clear decision to make safety a priority in the production and marketing of their vehicles, and the Elantra joins a range of other 5-star models in their fleet,” Mr McIntosh said.
The Elantra scored 14.24 out of 16 in the offset crash test, with the passenger compartment in "excellent" shape afterwards.
The report describes a slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver and a slight risk of lower leg injury for the driver and passenger.
The test vehicle scored 13.97 out of 16 in the side impact crash test, with a moderate risk of serious chest injury for the driver. A further two points were scored in the pole test.
The 2011 Elantra is fitted with six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution and electronic stability control as standard. Seatbelt reminders for the front seats, along with pretensioners, are also standard.