New car buyers shopping from the 1st of January 2018 will have a new, more stringent, ANCAP rating guideline to help steer them towards the safest new vehicles.
The Australiasian New Car Assesment Program will adopt new test procedures and a revised ratings system under changes which come into effect in the new year.
Australia’s crash body will still issue ratings from one to five stars for new cars, though the ratings are likely to be split among models that do not feature important safety equipment across the board as standard.
While some cars such as the popular Volkswagen Golf and Mazda3 offer autonomous emergency braking [AEB] as standard on every model, rival machines including the Hyundai i30 and Honda Civic reserve it for higher-grade versions that cost more for consumers.
ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin says cars that adopt that sort of approach are likely to feature “dual ratings” similar to those used when other technology was emerging in new cars.
“There were lots of dual ratings issued by ANCAP 2003, 2004 and 2005 when curtain airbags were coming in, but they weren’t standard on the base model,” he says.
“That’s what we are likely to see more of in the interim.”
New test procedures shared between Europe’s EuroNCAP and Australia’s ANCAP systems include an additional full-frontal crash at 50km/h and a tougher side-impact pole test using weight increased from 950kg to 1300kg, as well as increased speed.
Results have also been restructured, with cars assessed according to four categories: Adult Occupant Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Pedestrian Protection and Safety Assist – technology such as AEB.
ANCAP will also publish expiry dates for crash ratings for cars that are not updated within six years of their original test, however, existing test ratings for previously-released models will not be retroactively re-scored in line with the new criteria.
Goodwin says the Australasian crash body is “raising the bar” for safety, and that it will be harder-than-ever to get a five-star result.
“Smaller cars may find it harder in the physical test ratings, while larger cars may perform better in the child and adult occupant protection scoring, but if they are not well specified they will be let down by a lack of safety assists,” Goodwin says.
“A car without AEB wouldn’t be able to get five stars. It’s technically possible but unlikely to happen. Ever.”