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Latest Euro NCAP crash tests spring surprises

Good safety for all except Toyota's Urban Cruiser

Vauxhall Astra scores five stars in Euro NCAP crash test

New Vauxhall Astra was one of 10 cars to get five stars in the latest Euro NCAP tests

Euro NCAP has announced almost every car tested in the latest November 2009 round of crash tests scored top marks – but there is one big surprise.

The small crossover vehicle was awarded a very average three star score overall. This came after scoring a meagre 59% in the Adult Occupant Protection category.

Toyota surprise, Chevrolet delight

Toyota expressed ‘surprise’ at the result, and is making no further comment on the specific findings until it has concluded its own tests. In-house assessments rated the car as a five-star model for Euro NCAP, so the firm is busily finding out why the discrepancy has occurred.

However, Toyota’s gloom contrasts with Chevrolet’s pleasure – two of the firm’s cars were tested, one of which got an ‘almost perfect’ result.

The was the five-star car, and impressed the safety assessors with, in particular, its Adult Occupant Protection. Proof, said the Euro NCAP secretary general, that you should always look beyond just the brand when it comes to safety.

More Spark for Chevrolet

There was more for Chevrolet to be pleased with, after the new budget Spark scored a four-star result. This isn’t quite a top score, but it is very impressive for a small car that will be sold at a very low price level – particularly given how Euro NCAP standards have increased.

It’s a far cry from 2006, when the then-new Chevrolet Aveo was roundly condemned by Euro NCAP. After receiving an appalling one-star ‘strikethrough’ rating, it became a car to avoid. This is why Euro NCAP is so impressed by Chevrolet’s ‘laudable improvements in safety’.

Five-star family

The Euro NCAP crash testers have certainly been busy. Other models winning a full five-star rating include the new , , , , , , Peugeot 5008 and .

But next year, we should expect more low-score surprises such as the Toyota Urban Cruiser, warned Euro NCAP.

Tougher next year

In 2010, the test will be ramped up further, making it harder still for cars to achieve the full score. ‘Given Euro NCAP’s test and assessments continually evolve, consumers must also remember to consider the year of the test when looking at results.’

The inference is that a five-star car tested a few years ago would not necessarily still be a five-star car today…

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