Eight-seater vans fall short in safety stakes

The safety body Euro NCAP has called for additional safety equipment to be fitted to vans after conducting extensive crash tests on the top selling eight-seater vehicles.

The tests were conducted on a wide range of vehicles from the sector’s leading manufacturers, with the excellent Ford Transit Custom the only vehicle to receive a top five-star rating.

Of the other vans to be extensively tested, those which received three stars were the Hyundai H1, Fiat Scudo, Peugeot Expert and the Citroen Dispatch.

Those vans only managing to achieve a two-star rating included the Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro and Nissan Primastar.

The Euro NCAP tests were devised to simulate more true-to-life accident situations than the tests these vans undergo as a legal requirement. And given the below par results of many of the tests, the safety organisation has called for an improvement in the level of safety equipment on the vans. This can be easily achieved by ramping up what it believes to be excessively lenient safety requirements.

The Ford Transit Custom is seen as the standard bearer in this sector, and was able to achieve a 5 star award by incorporating features such as curtain airbags, which greatly improved the vehicle’s performance in the severe pole side impact test. The Transit Custom was also recognised for offering Lane Keep Assist as an optional extra.

Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen, said: “These vehicles offering eight to nine seats are used by both businesses and families as alternatives to large MPVs. As theses vehicles are derived from commercial van platforms, they are often less well equipped with safety features than normal passenger cars. ”

“If you have a large family with lots of children, then before you buy such a vehicle, please be aware that in many cases it will not offer the latest safety equipment.”

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