Airbag-equipped Renault Kwid gets 1-star GNCAP rating, Honda Mobilio 3 stars, base Mobilio zero stars
Safety watchdog Global NCAP tests highest safety variant of the Kwid as well as basic and airbag-equipped versions of the Mobilio.
Four months after it tested five high-selling, made-in-India cars, all of which got zero star ratings for adult occupant protection, Global NCAP has released crash test results for the latest and highest safety level version of the Renault Kwid hatchback as well as two versions of the Honda Mobilio MPV.
In its standard version, the Renault Kwid is offered without airbags and was tested by Global NCAP (GNCAP) in May 2016. The basic version of the car scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection.
Following Renault’s latest set of improvements, the Kwid was assessed again in the frontal impact test and the model still offers just one star for adult occupant protection. The latest version and the most highly equipped safety levels includes an airbag only for the driver and a seatbelt pretensioner for the driver’s seat. During the test, this version still showed high chest deflection, which explains the one-star rating in the driver seat. It is to be noted that in the previous test conducted in May 2016, three versions of the Kwid were tested.
Commenting on the protection for the adult occupant in the Kwid, GNCAP says, “The protection offered to the driver head and neck by the airbag was good. However, the protection to the chest due to high chest compression was poor and the passenger’s chest received weak protection as well. The passenger’s knees could impact with dangerous structures in the dashboard. The bodyshell was rated as unstable and cannot withstand further loadings. It was confirmed that Renault added reinforcements in the structure but only on the driver side and not on the passenger side.”
As regards the child occupant in the Kwid, GNCAP says, “The child seat for the 3-year-old child was not able to prevent excessive forward movement during the impact and, the biomechanical readings were high. The dynamic performance of the 18 months’ child allowed head contact with the frontal backrest and biomechanical readings were high. The installation instructions on both child seats were insufficient and not permanently attached to the seat. The static three-point belts in the rear seats made more difficult the proper installation of the CRS. This vehicle was not equipped with a passenger airbag.”
Airbag-fitted Honda Mobilio gets 3 stars, minus airbag zero
The Honda Mobilio was tested in the basic version, showing a stable structure and zero stars for adult occupant protection. GNAP says Honda requested it to test a Mobilio equipped with double airbags in order to show the benefits of these safety systems; this variant achieved three stars for adult occupant protection.
In Mobilio without airbags (top), the protection offered to the driver and passenger’s head was poor and the driver and passenger’s chest received weak protection. In comparison, the Mobilio with 2 airbags (above) saw good protection to the driver and passenger’s head and necks, driver chest protection was marginal and passenger’s chest protection was adequate.
Commenting on the adult occupant in the Mobilio, GNCAP says, “The protection offered to the driver and passenger’s head and necks was good, driver chest protection was marginal and passenger’s chest protection was adequate. The passengers’ knees could impact with dangerous structures in the dashboard. The bodyshell was rated as stable and can withstand further loadings.”
As regards the child occupant in the Mobilio, the safety body says, “The child seat for the 3-year-old child was not able to prevent excessive forward movement during the impact. The dynamic performance of the 18 months’ child was adequate. Installation instructions on both child seats were insufficient and not permanently attached to the seat. Both CRS were compatible with the belt system on the vehicle. This vehicle was equipped with a passenger airbag but it does not offer the possibility to disable passenger airbag.”
David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP, said: “Renault has made limited progress. They should be offering their one-star car as the standard version, not an option. Honda too has shown that with two airbags they can achieve three stars. These safety systems should not be options.
“Renault and Honda make safe cars in other markets, they have the know-how to make all their Indian cars much safer. We expect them to start doing so now.”
Rohit Baluja, president of the Institute of Road Traffic Education, said: “The automobile industry in India is fast progressing, however, a safety systems approach is not yet a priority. Customers are not yet aware how safe are the cars they are purchasing in case they meet up with frontal crashes when at higher speeds. In these tests, both Honda and Renault have demonstrated that they can offer safer cars to the Indian market. Automobile manufacturers should not enhance safety features as an option; rather safety should be an uncompromising standard.”
Kwid and Mobilio sales in India
Generally, most passenger vehicle buyers in India have been averse to spending on critical safety equipment preferring to spend their money on things like accessories and audio kit. But that trend is changing now and OEMs like Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Volkswagen India have made certain safety features like airbags and ABS standard fitment in their models.
Entry level passenger cars, however, offer an airbag only as an option. This is set to change with the new safety regulations that will kick in from 2017. Cars without an airbag may not be able to meet those norms.
Renault India has had a very good run with the Kwid in India and has also recently begun exporting it. On August 22, the carmaker launched a more powerful 1.0-litre variant at Rs 3.82 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which makes it just Rs 22,000 more than the similarly specced 800cc Kwid. With a Rs 22,000 difference for 200cc more of power, it is expecting a substantial number of Kwid buyers will shift to the new Kwid 1.0-litre model. From September 2015, the Kwid has sold a total of 86,676 units till end-August and the car has been a regular in the Top 10 best-selling cars in India since the past few months.
For Honda, the Mobilio has been a slow mover. In the 24-odd months since the MPV’s launch in July 2014, the Mobilio has sold a total of 39,648 8 including 290 in August 2016.
The next round of tests under the Safer Cars for India campaign is likely to be in January 2017.
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