Jeep’s all-new Cherokee SUV headlines the news, with the new midsizer landing a 5-Star rating just one week before its Australian market debut.
The result marks the first top score for Jeep under the ANCAP system, with the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Wrangler all wearing 4-Star stickers.
Standard safety features with the Cherokee include a full suite of airbags and a number of safety assist technologies (SAT) including roll stability, trailer stability, tyre pressure monitoring and daytime running lights as standard on all variants.
Depending on the model and options selected, other features include autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, reversing collision avoidance and lane change alert.
For the Odyssey, standard features include a multi-view rear camera, Hill Start Assist, Daytime Running Lights, VSA, six airbags including full length curtain for the third row, Tyre Deflation Warning System and Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure.
In VTi-L form, there’s also blind spot monitoring, Cross Traffic Monitor and Smart Park Assist.
The new Nissan Pathfinder, which arrived in October, gets dual front, side chest and side head curtain airbags as standard, along with anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution and electronic stability control.
There’s also reversing sensors and a rear-view camera, while the top Ti model adds Around View 360-degree camera.
With the small Skoda Rapid, the standard safety kit includes dual front, side chest and side head curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution and electronic stability control.
ANCAP Chairman Lachlan McIntosh applauded the results, but said that carmakers must now shift focus to including ‘bigger ticket’ safety-assist technologies - like autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitoring, reversing collision avoidance and lane support systems - as standard equipment rather than optional extras.
"While each of the cars for which we've released ratings today have achieved excellent results and provide a very high level of safety for occupants - and, in the case of the Cherokee, Odyssey and Pathfinder, have increased their ratings from previous models - there now needs to be a shift in focus,” he said.
"The future of vehicle safety lies with active safety features - safety assist technologies which can prevent a crash from occurring. Many of these technologies are now widely available in Europe and are working to reduce the number and severity of crashes. Their availability in Australasia is however being restricted by manufacturers, many of which are still only offering them to those who are prepared to pay for them as an extra."
Mr McIntosh said that buyers should ask for these technologies when making their new-car purchase, ensuring that carmakers are better aware of buyer expectations.
"The more consumer demand there is, the more likely manufacturers will be to introduce these technologies as standard much sooner,” he said.