Joint release from Land Transport NZ and the New Zealand Automobile Association

27 September 2005

Joint release from Land Transport NZ and the New Zealand Automobile Association

Crash test results of non-luxury 4WDs have found that the Subaru Forester is the only vehicle to score a top 5 star result with its side and head airbags offered as standard features.

The results of independent crash tests were released today by Land Transport New Zealand and the New Zealand Automobile Association. The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) tested the Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, Lexus RX330, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Prado, Mitsubishi Pajero, Toyota Landcruiser, Mazda Tribute, Ford Escape and Nissan Patrol.

Most of these 4WDs tested scored 4 stars except the Nissan Patrol which scored 3 stars and the Subaru Forester which scored 5 stars.

Luxury brand 4WDs were also tested in Europe, with the VW Touareg, Volvo XC90 and BMW X5 scoring 5 stars. The Range Rover and Mercedes M Class scored 4 stars.

AA Technical Services General Manager, Stella Stocks says the AA would like to see all vehicles come with head-protecting side airbags as standard equipment.

“The very least we are asking of manufacturers is that they offer these important occupant protection features as stand-alone options, not combined with other features that increase the price.”

“With the increasing incidence of side impacts with poles and trees, where head impacts are frequent and can be severe, the inclusion of head protection is of great importance to reduce the risk of head injuries.”

Land Transport New Zealand Chief Executive Wayne Donnelly says the results provide consumers with valuable information on the safety performance of new vehicles.

“We would also advise new vehicle buyers to consider selecting vehicles with good handling, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and traction control where available, to minimise the risk of being involved in a crash in the first place.

“At the end of the day, the best protection is to drive safely.”

The crash test procedures conducted by ANCAP involved a frontal test at 64 km/h where one part of the vehicle hits a barrier and a side impact test at 50 km/h. Most of the vehicles also underwent a test to assess likely injuries caused to pedestrians by a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h.

ANCAP has changed its scoring process so that all high-seated vehicles receive a full side impact score. These vehicles have historically scored full points in the test.

High-seated vehicles that are fitted with head-protecting airbags can undertake a pole test where the vehicle travelling sideways at 29 km/h strikes a round pole lined up with the driver’s head. This measures the effectiveness of the side head-protecting airbags and can result in extra points being scored.

The pole tests conducted by ANCAP revealed that some side head protection systems needed further improvement. Good side head protection was provided by the Prado, RAV4 and Forester. However, there was a risk of serious head injury in the RX330 and Tribute.

ANCAP is supported by Land Transport New Zealand, the New Zealand Automobile Association, all Australian motoring clubs and state governments and the FIA Foundation.

The crash test results will be available online from midday at: and

Attached: 4WD Crash Test Results Breakdown

For more information contact

Janice Rodenburg
Acting Media Manager
Land Transport New Zealand
Ph: 04 931 8822 or 021 705 301

Stella Stocks
General Manager Technical Services
New Zealand Automobile Association
Ph: 09 966 8908 or 021 772 242

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