Vehicle safety test results issued today by Euro NCAP reveal that car makers are embracing the importance of offering a full range of advanced safety technologies on new vehicles and accepting that standard rather than optional fitment is the best policy.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia and SEAT Ateca achieved a top, five-star score in Euro NCAP tests, with their portfolios of safety equipment crucial in securing the rating. Both feature sophisticated Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems that operate in both lower speed (City) and higher speed (Inter-Urban) environments, significantly reducing the likelihood of a crash*. The two new cars are also equipped with Pedestrian Protection AEB technology, which is designed to further reduce the risk to vulnerable road users and became part of the Euro NCAP test procedure at the beginning of 2016.
“Alfa Romeo and SEAT deserve praise for the high level of safety technology on these new cars and in particular for including advanced automatic braking as standard,” said Peter Shaw, Chief Executive of independent safety expert, Thatcham Research. “It’s clear that manufacturers are increasingly responding to consumer calls for standard fit safety and simplifying the buying decision. UK motorists can now choose any Giulia or Ateca model and be safe in the knowledge that they and other road users are better protected by a vital technology that is proven to significantly reduce crashes.”
Auto-braking systems effective at a range of speeds, with pedestrians also safer
The combination of low and high speed AEB on the new Giulia and Ateca improves the possibility of crash avoidance at a wider range of speeds and as a result is likely to reduce both personal injury claims and the cost of crash damage. “Claims data shows that higher speed AEB systems have the potential to reduce injury crashes by up to 45%,” commented Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research.
Additionally, the Pedestrian Protection automatic braking function fitted on these two new cars will help to better protect some of the most vulnerable road users, as Avery explained: “The Ateca and Giulia are among the first cars to feature pedestrian protection AEB, a technology that will help to bring down the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in the UK from the current shocking total of more than 5,000 a year** – so as a buyer, you can choose from this SUV or sports saloon range with a clear safety conscience.”
The new five-star cars in detail
SEAT’s first-ever SUV is also the first SEAT to have AEB as standard, and in AEB City tests the Ateca avoided collision at up to 50kmh (30mph), the highest speed tested for this type of system. The Ateca is classified as a Small Off-Road vehicle by Euro NCAP and is positioned alongside the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X1 and Kia Sportage, all of which have a five-star rating. These cars are competing in one of the fastest-growing market sectors in the UK and attract drivers looking for a family car with the latest safety technology. The new Volkswagen Tiguan, which is also in this category, is another five-star car that scores highly on safety.
The new Giulia is the first Alfa Romeo to feature AEB and also has a range of complementary safety technologies, including Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning. It shares a Large Family Car five-star Euro NCAP rating with cars such as the Jaguar XE, Toyota Avensis and Audi A4.
Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard is essential for improved road safety
Thatcham Research believes that a life-saving technology as important as Autonomous Emergency Braking should be fitted as standard on all new cars on sale in the UK. Currently, just 21% have it as standard, with a further 27% offering it as an option. Thatcham Research is urging drivers to only consider new cars with the technology and believes that car makers need to take action now to accelerate the pace of AEB being fitted to all new cars, without exception.
“Car makers that don’t offer AEB should follow the example set by vehicles achieving a five-star Euro NCAP rating and embrace this life-saving safety automatic braking technology,” commented Peter Shaw. “And where AEB is currently available as an option it could easily be made standard instead, having an immediate positive effect on road safety.”
* Claims data for crashes involving vehicles with both these AEB technologies shows that Inter-Urban systems can deliver an additional 24% reduction in third party claims over and above the 21% reduction provided by a basic City system.
** Department for Transport Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain 2014 reveal 446 pedestrians killed and 5,063 seriously injured.
Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’.
As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.