Maruti Suzuki has received yet another zero star rating from safety watchdog Global NCAP, while Hyundai has got 2 stars, and Kia has achieved a 3 star rating. Three made in India models were tested at a crash lab in Germany, and as is protocol, only base variants were used. The models are the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso mini SUV, the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios hatch and the bestselling Kia Seltos compact SUV. The cars were subjected to a frontal offset test that is carried out at 64 kmph. David Ward, President of the Towards Zero Foundation, said, “There is no place for zero rated cars in the Indian market. It remains a great disappointment that an important manufacturer like Maruti Suzuki does not recognise this.”
The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso has got zero stars for adult occupant protection. The result was predetermined even before the test could be carried out as the S-Presso gets only a driver-side airbag and not dual airbags as standard. But there was more that let it down. The crash test dummies showed significant injury to the neck and chest area. The car’s structure or body shell was also rated as unstable, as was the front footwell area. The front seatbelts do not have pretensioners and the rear middle occupant does not get a 3-point seatbelt. The S-Presso does get 2 stars for child occupant safety. But this score could have dramatically improved if the car has ISOFIX child seat anchors as standard, and if Maruti Suzuki recommended the use of Child Restraint Systems (CRS).
Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Global NCAP said, “It is very disappointing that Maruti Suzuki, the manufacturer with the largest share of the Indian market, offers such low safety performance for Indian consumers. Domestic manufacturers like Mahindra and Tata have demonstrated high levels of safety and protection for their customers, both achieving five star performances. Surely it’s time for Maruti Suzuki to demonstrate this commitment to safety for its customers?” Maruti Suzuki replied to carandbike’s queries and said, “Safety is a critical issue and is therefore closely regulated by governments around the world as they are responsible for the safety of the people in their countries. It cannot be left to the opinion of any self proclaimed party. The Government of India has recently increased the stringency of car crash test standards and made them identical to European standards. All products of the company are fully compliant with these global standards and duly tested and certified by the Government of India. “
India’s second largest manufacturer has also been a poor performer at Global NCAP but now the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios has received a respectable 2 star rating for adult occupant protection. While 2 stars are not worthy of any admiration, it exhibits some attention to safety – like the use of dual front airbags and front seatbelt pretensioners as standard. But here too the body shell and footwell area were deemed unstable. The crash dummies showed non-fatal injuries in the lower half of the body. But head and neck were well protected, while chest too was reasonably protected.
On child safety the Grand i10 Nios scored 2 stars. The lack of ISOFIX and refusing to recommend a CRS for the test impacted this score. Global NCAP felt this ‘raised questions about the car manufacturer policy and relevance towards child occupant protection for the Indian market’. The Nios also does not have 3-point seatbelts in all positions. Our queries on this result have gone unanswered by Hyundai Motor India at the time this report was filed.
The third car tested was the hot selling Kia Seltos. The compact SUV has been a runaway success as Kia’s first model for India. The Seltos has received 3 stars for adult occupant safety and 2 for child protection. Dual airbags, pretensioners ABS braking being standard helped achieve its good score. While its body shell also got an unstable rating, it was borderline says Global NCAP – which shows scope for improvement, likely through minor changes. The driver’s legs and feet show injury due to an unstable footwell though. Head, neck and chest protection are acceptable. Here too Global NCAP expressed disappointment that Kia India too did not recommend CRS for the test.
The Seltos test showed limited protection for the 3-year-old child dummy’s head and neck while the 18 month old had adequate protection. The Kia Seltos also car does not offer standard 3-point belts for all seats, and does not get ISOFIX anchorages as standard. carandbike has reached out to Kia Motors India, and a company spokesperson said, “Safety of our passengers is extremely important to us and Kia Seltos not only meets, but also exceeds safety standards required in the countries it is sold in, including India. Automotive regulation standards in fast growing countries are constantly evolving and as a global manufacturer, we are always willing to adopt and also help evolve the standards in vehicle safety. Kia’s safety principles are built on five pillars – Active, Passive, Health, Security and Maintenance – and safety is a constantly evolving and progressive aspect of Kia Motors philosophy.”
The Safer Cars For India crash test programme has seen Global NCAP conduct 38 tests on Indian made cars since 2014. Today’s results take that tally to 41, with a total of 35 models being tested. Some car models have been tested more than once.