On January 1st 2018, the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) started evaluating cars coming into Australia and New Zealand. The safety awards tests are based on:
- Adult Occupant Protection (AOP)
- Child Occupant Protection (COP)
- Vulnerable Road User Protection (VREP)
- Safety Assist (SA)
Car safety features have evolved over the years. Older vehicle models focused mainly on seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones. The more modern cars do not just focus on protection during an impact, but safety assist technologies which help to prevent crashes. Today, these safety features have made it much easier to avoid collisions. Some of the features that contribute to the safety of the car include:
- The structural integrity of the car.
- Passive safety features such as airbags, ABS and seat belt pre-tensioners.
- Safety Assist technologies.
A series of internationally recognized tests have been carried out on the Mercedes Benz A Class, Mazda 6 and Lexus ES. The crash tests and safety assessments carried out were to determine how safe the occupants and pedestrians would be in the event of an accident. The ratings are from 1 star to 5 stars. For a car to be rated 5 stars, it has to pass all the tests and have advanced safety assist technologies (SAT).
To get 5 stars in adult occupant protection as well as child occupant protection, the vehicle needs to attain at least an 80% rating. The Vulnerable Road User Protection requires an evaluation of 60% minimum to achieve a 5-star rating. For the safety assist to be considered reliable and worth a 5-star rating, it needs to attain a score of 70% and above.
Mercedes Benz A Class
According to ANCAP, this car attained a score of 96% when tested for adult occupant protection. This safety test was carried out in August 2018. The Mercedes Benz A Class had an excellent performance rating as well as reliable safety features. The VREP rating was 92% while the COP rating was 91%. The safety assist score was 73%.
The tests carried out by the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), the Mercedes Benz A Class delivered similar scores. The only difference was in the Safety Assist score, which was 75%.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not released the car safety ratings of the 2018 Mercedes Benz A Class, some of the safety features available in this car that may influence the rating include the forward collision warning, crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support. The lane departure warning is available, but users have the freedom to decide if they want this feature active or not.
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The Mazda 6
Mazda introduced the Mazda 6 to the Australian and New Zealand market in June 2016. It was then tested to verify its safety features. The ANCAP recognized the high protection levels of the adult and child occupant in the Mazda 6. It received an overall safety score of 95%. This earned it the 5-star rating.
However, during the full-width test, “submarining” was noticed, especially for smaller occupants at the rear of the car. During the crash, the pelvis of the dummy slipped, causing the seat belt to ride up. This affected the score in this section of the test. It earned a score of 9 out of 13. Fortunately, this penalty did not affect the overall performance of this car.
The NHTSA also gave the MAZDA 6 an overall 5-star rating. When tested, this car earned 5-stars for frontal and side crash safety. It earned 4-stars when tested on roll-over.
The Mazda 6 was one of the cars featured in the 2018 Top Safety Pick. For a car to qualify for the 2018 Top Safety Pick, sound ratings are demanded when the cars are tested on moderate overlap front, driver-side small overlap front, head restraint, and roof strength.
The Euro NCAP also gave the Mazda 6 a 5-star rating. In the tests carried out, this car scored 95% in AOP, 91% in COP, 66% in VREP and 73% in SA.
The front crash prevention tests must also be superior. The headlight rating also needs to be within acceptable standards. The Mazda 6 passed all these tests.
The Lexus ES 300h
According to ANCAP, this car earned an overall score of 91%. During the test carried out in September 2018, the autonomous braking system was one of the most impressive features in the Lexus ES 300h. In the tests carried out on AOP, COP, VREP, and SA, the scores earned were 91%, 86%, 90%, and 76% respectively.
It scored highly on its ability to detect and avoid pedestrians and cyclists under low light and during the day. Unfortunately, this car failed in the full-width frontal crash test. The rear seat occupant risked submarining in the event of a crash. In this test, the score was 7 out of 13. This failure earned this car a penalty.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Security (IIHS) and NHTSA also gave the Lexus ES a 5-star rating. According to IIHS, the front crash prevention was superior. This car was among the 2018 Top Safety Pick by IIHS. Some of the safety features tested include oncoming vehicle detection, a pre-collision system, road departure alert with steering assist, road edge detection, blind spot monitoring system, and automatic high beams.
In the tests carried out by Euro NCAP, the Lexus ES earned 5 stars. In AOP, COP, VREP, and SA, the scores were 91%, 87%, 90%, and 77% respectively.
When looking at car safety ratings, it is essential to find out how recently the safety of the car was tested. If, for example, the car was tested in 2011, this does not mean it is not safe. It simply implies that the car tested in 2016 is more reliable and the one tested in 2018 is the safest.