Six out of 23 ‘entry level’ cars have few or no safety features: AA

Six of the 23 “entry level” vehicles‚ those that cost under R150 000‚ have none of the basic safety features‚ the Automobile Association has found.

Only one vehicle in this category has all the safety features installed as standard.

The AA‚ in its South African entry level vehicle safety report‚ examined the 23 vehicles in the selected price bracket for what it regarded as the minimum safety features which promote increased safety in preventing crashes‚ or moderating their effects.

The safety features are: the anti-lock braking system (ABS)‚ the and electronic stability control (ESC)‚ which applies brakes to prevent the wheels from slipping and keeps the vehicle under control in hazardous conditions‚ and airbags‚ which provide a cushion upon impact to protect the driver and passengers during the crash. Each of the vehicles was examined for the presence of driver side airbags‚ passenger side airbags‚ curtain airbags and side airbags.

The study also looked at whether the car had undergone Euro/NCAP testing. These tests represent real-life accident scenarios that could result in injured or killed car occupants.

Only one car‚ the Citroen C1Vti 51kw Feel‚ at R149 900‚ has all the safety features installed as standard.

The car’s only shortcoming is that it was granted four out of five stars on the Euro NCAP crash test.

But the C1 was the only car to have undergone Euro NCAP testing and to be sold on the South African market with the same safety specifications as tested.

The Renault Sandero 66kw turbo Expression‚ at R147 900‚ is the second safest car in this category. Although it had ABS‚ ESC‚ a driver side airbag and a front passenger airbag‚ it lacks side airbags and curtain airbags.

A number of cars in the test had ABS‚ a driver and side airbags‚ but no ESC side airbags and curtain airbags. These are: FAW V2 1.3 DLX‚ FAW V2 1.3#Like‚ Suzuku Celerio 1.0GA‚ Chevrolet Spark 1.2 Campus‚ Suzuki Swift Hatch 1.2GA‚ Suzuki Celerio 1.0GL‚ Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2GL‚ Honda Brio Hatch 1.2 Trend‚ Chevrolet Spark 1.2L and Chery J2 1.5TX.

The Chery QQ1.1TXE has only the driver and passenger airbags.

These Datsun GO 1.2 LUX‚ Kia Picanto 1.0LS and Kia Picanto 1.2LS have none of the safety features except the driver’s airbag.

The six cars which have none of the safety features are the: Geely GC2‚ Chery QQ3 0.8 TE‚ Datsun Go 1.2 Mid‚ Chery QQ 0.8TX‚ Tata Indica LE AC‚ Tata Indica LGI Sport and Tata Vista Ini Bounce.

The AA said that in some cases‚ vehicles are fitted with features which might be regarded as “convenience” or “luxury”‚ even though the vehicles offered low levels of safety equipment.

“We are hopeful that this report will inform the public and persuade motor manufacturers to prioritise safety in vehicles produced for the South African market‚” the report said.

The AA called on the motor manufacturers to consider substituting luxury or convenience specification items with safety items.

“We believe this consideration must be weighed against the inexperience of the typical drivers of these vehicles‚ and the need to protect them against traffic hazards to the greatest extent possible.”

The AA said the report would be the first of what would become an annual assessment to document the possible progression of available safety features on “entry-level” vehicles available in South Africa.

– TMG Digital

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