Concerns have been raised over the crash safety of two new cars.
The Chevrolet Aveo, a small family saloon, has only been awarded two out of five stars for occupant safety from EuroNCAP, the crash-test organisation co-founded by Which?.
Tests showed that Aveo drivers were at serious risk of life threatening injury in a frontal impact test at 40mph.
Although the Aveo isn’t currently sold in the UK, it’s likely to become the next generation Chevrolet Kalos in 2008.
The Kia Cerato also scored just three stars for occupant safety and Which? Motoring Editor Richard Headland said: ‘We’re very disappointed with the performance of the Chevrolet Aveo – it’s the lowest occupant safety rating awarded by Euro NCAP since 2000.
‘The Chevrolet Matiz also performed poorly in December’s crash tests, and worse than the model it replaced, so we’re concerned that the manufacturer has taken a backwards step for safety.
‘Kia, one of the UK’s fastest growing car brands, also has work to do. The results for the new Cerato small family car are also poor by today’s standards.
‘We’ve been similarly unimpressed with the safety of the Kia Picanto supermini in recent EuroNCAP crash tests, and Which?’s own independent safety assessments.’
Of the six cars tested, two – the Alfa Romeo 159 and the Peugeot 207 – achieved the maximum five stars for occupant protection in a crash.
But the Alfa Romeo 159 only scored one star out of a possible four for pedestrian protection as did the Kia Cerato and the off-roader Hyundai Tucson off-roader. The Suzuki SX4, the Chevrolet Aveo and the Peugeot 207 all scored three out of four stars for pedestrian protection.
Richard Headland said: ‘It’s good to see Alfa Romeo achieving its first ever five-star rating for occupant safety. The Peugeot 207, which is destined to become one of the UK’s most popular superminis when it goes on sale in the summer, has also made the five-star grade.
‘But three of the six cars tested by Euro NCAP only scored one star for pedestrian protection, which shows that manufacturers still aren’t taking this aspect of safety design seriously enough.’