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New Euro NCAP test protocols identify vehicles that must offer improved protection for other vehicles

10 December 2020

Release from Thatcham Research Media Centre.

The new Euro NCAP test protocols identify vehicles that must offer improved protection for other vehicles. The results were as follows:

  • The Land Rover Defender received a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Land Rover Defender and Isuzu D-Max lose points in ‘compatibility’ test
  • Honda e with dedicated EV design receives a four-star rating
  • SEAT Leon emerges as one of 2020’s top performers
  • Lack of AEB performance contributes to Hyundai i10’s three-star rating

The latest Euro NCAP test results highlight the important challenge some manufacturers face when their vehicles are exposed to the most exacting protocols so far, with the new Land Rover Defender and Isuzu D-Max deemed too aggressive in the head-on collision test.

Impact testing methods were overhauled for 2020, with the head-on collision now consisting of two moving elements: the test vehicle itself and a Mobile Progressive Deformable Barrier (MPDB).

This test not only looks at intrusion on the test vehicle but also to the MPDB which represents the partner vehicle in a collision. To avoid being penalised within the latest test protocols, large vehicles must now offer more protection – and better compatibility – to smaller vehicles during a collision.

Although they both achieved a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating, the Defender and D-Max lost points for their performance during the MPDB test and the threat they pose to partner vehicles in a collision.

The D-Max, which scored 11.2 out of 16 in the frontal impact test and 84% for overall adult occupant protection, caused some ‘localised areas of high deformation’ to the MPDB, while the Defender’s ‘high mass and front structure makes it an aggressive partner to a colliding vehicle’. It scored 11.7 out of 16 and 85% for adult occupant protection.

“The new-for-2020 tests are really driving a requirement for increased performance and more aggressive cars like the Defender and D-Max are being identified and marked down as a result,” Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research’s Director of Research, explained. “The latest test results show some manufacturers are finding compatibility a challenge.”

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