A run of new Euro NCAP crash tests has revealed 5-Star results for a host of new models, but the most impressive is Ford's new Ranger - the first pickup to carry a 5-Star rating in Europe.
In Australia, Volkswagen's Amarok is the first dual-cab utility to achieve a 5-Star ANCAP result, awarded to the highly-specified four-wheel-drive model with side airbags.
This week's Euro NCAP results saw the Australian-developed Ranger score 96 percent for adult occupant safety, 86 percent for child occupant safety and 81 percent for pedestrian safety. The pickup's "safety assist" systems achieved a 71 percent score.
"With such good pedestrian protection, the Ford Ranger is undoubtedly raising the bar of safety in the category of pickup trucks, which had until now not proven to be the safest," Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen said.
The result is no surprise to Ford Australia's engineers, who put the Ranger through 9000 virtual crash tests before any of the Ranger development program's 520 real-world test cars ever touched a wall or pole.
“On the all new Ranger we did more crash simulations than any of our prior programs to ensure all parts of the vehicle’s safety performance were optimised,” Adam Frost, Chief Engineer for Digital Innovation at Ford Asia Pacific and Africa said.
“This was backed up by a comprehensive physical crash test program. The end result is a world class outcome we are all very proud of.”
ANCAP tests for the Ranger have yet to be carried out, although the Euro NCAP results - which use the same criteria - may be adopted for the Australian market.
5 Stars for Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, Opel and Toyota
The brand-new Toyota Yaris, only just now hitting Australian showrooms, also picked up a 5-Star result, and Hyundai's Veloster did the same. The sporty Veloster will hit Australia before the year is out.
Mercedes-Benz' new 2012 M-Class, due here in the second quarter of 2012, took home 5 stars, along with the Opel Astra and Zafira cars and Chevrolet's updated Captiva 7 (sold here as the Holden Captiva 7).