The Mazda2 is one of the few cars to score four or more stars, but its broken driver backrest caused concern. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Mazda2 is one of the few cars to score four or more stars, but its broken driver backrest caused concern. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Mazda2 scored four stars and the Nissan Almera three stars for adult occupant protection in the latest #SaferCarsForAfrica crash tests.

Both cars scored three stars out of a possible five for child protection, in the latest round of tests conducted by Global NCAP and SA’s Automobile Association (AA).

Both models showed driver seat failures during testing, the India-built Nissan with a seat detachment and the Thailand-built Mazda with a backrest failure. Although these did not have significant effects on the assessment ratings, which are based on injury criteria, Global NCAP said the failures are of serious concern and have been raised with each manufacturer.  

See the 2021 Global NCAP crash test results for the Nissan Almera, which received a 3-star driver safety rating #SaferCarsForAfrica. For all GlobalNCAP and AA South Africa #SaferCarsForAfrica Results: https://aa.co.za/crash-test/

Both models were equipped with ISOFIX anchorages and combined with effective Child Restraint Systems (CRS) showed good protection in the crash test. Neither vehicle offers the possibility of disconnecting the passenger airbag when a rearward facing CRS is installed in the passenger seat.

Dual front airbags are fitted as standard to both the Mazda2 and Nissan Almera, the latter a popular car with ride-hailing services like Uber and Bolt.

The Mazda2 is one of four cars to score four or more stars in the #SaferCarsForAfrica project, which since 2017 has crash tested 18 vehicles sold in Africa. The Toyota Etios, Toyota Avanza and Honda Amaze are the other locally available cars that scored four stars, with the Mahindra XUV300 the only one with a five-star rating thus far.

Three cars have scored zero stars: the Nissan NP300 Hardbody and Chery QQ3, neither of which are on sale any more, and the GWM Steed 5 which is still available.

“#SaferCarsforAfrica is an important programme for the AA as we continue to push for better safety standards on vehicles for local consumers,” said Willem Groenewald, the AA’s CEO.

See the 2021 Global NCAP crash test results for the Mazda 2, which received a 4-star driver safety rating #SaferCarsForAfrica. For all GlobalNCAP and AA South Africa #SaferCarsForAfrica Results: https://aa.co.za/crash-test/

“The results of the fifth round of testing are encouraging, especially the four star rating achieved by the Mazda 2. However, the results show there are still some safety deficiencies on vehicles available in SA and this should, again, serve as a marker to manufacturers and safety authorities of the need for improved basic safety features which should be offered as standard on all models available locally.”

Alejandro Furas, Global NCAP Secretary General, said the seats did not break in Nissan’s and Mazda’s in-house crash tests, which underlined the importance of the #SaferCarsforAfrica project as an independent consumer body.

“Although the latest #SaferCarsForAfrica tests showed average results, we are concerned that both cars had failures in their driver seats, more severe in the Nissan than in the Mazda. Global NCAP calls on both car makers to review these failures as a matter of urgency. We would also call on them to improve the basic safety offered in these models as standard, adding Electronic Stability Control (ESC), pedestrian protection and side body and head airbags as soon as possible.”

The #SaferCarsForAfrica project has crash tested 18 cars in the last five years. Picture: SUPPLIED
The #SaferCarsForAfrica project has crash tested 18 cars in the last five years. Picture: SUPPLIED

The #SaferCarsforAfrica project currently tests frontal crash protection for occupants only, making it not as rigorous as the benchmark EuroNCAP crash test, but side impact and pedestrian protection will form part of future test protocols for Africa.

The AA has called on government to legislate compulsory safety rating stickers on all cars sold in SA.

David Ward, executive president of the Towards Zero Foundation said: “Consumers in Africa deserve the same levels of vehicle safety performance which are taken for granted in other parts of the world.”

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