Dacia defends Duster NCAP safety rating
26 March 2013
Renault-owned budget brand Dacia has defended the three-star EuroNCAP performance of its Duster small off-roader, blaming the safety body's scoring system for making the vehicle look less safe than it actually is.
The Duster scored five stars for child occupant protection, four for adult occupant protection and for pedestrian protection, but crucially three for safety-assist functions, and NCAP's policy is that the overall rating can't exceed the minimum score in any one area.
The safety-assist category focuses on whether vehicles are fitted with a speed limiter, audible seatbelt reminder and ESC anti-skid control.
A seatbelt reminder is standard, but ESC is a £350 option on diesel models and not available on petrol Dusters, while a speed limiter isn't offered on any of the range.
The smaller Dacia Sandero supermini has ESC as standard, as all cars launched now have to, but the Duster was already on sale before that legislation came into force, so it has to abide by the rules that say all new cars must be fitted with ESC by 1 November 2014.
"We are offering consumers the choice to buy the options they want," Dacia product manager Adam Wood told BusinessCar.
"Fleets can buy ESC if they want to, 25% of our orders have got ESC, which means 75% are choosing not to."
Meanwhile, The Renault Zoe, Skoda Octavia, Toyota Auris and Toyota RAV4 have all achieved top marks in the latest EuroNCAP testing results, with each model scoring the maximum five stars overall.
The Skoda Octavia marginally topped the group, scoring 93% for adult protection, 86% for child safety and 82% for pedestrian safety.
The Renault Zoe triumphed with 86% for safety assist systems. However, the new Octavia was the only car to also be given four Euro NCAP advanced rewards, introduced recently to award impressive advanced safety systems that are becoming more widespread on cars.
It received accolades for its multi-collision brake, crew protect assist and lane assistant systems, along with its front assistant, the VW Group marque's version of autonomous emergency braking.
Euro NCAP will publish its next set of results on 21 April. The European safety organisation is now also providing information on child seats.
"For each new car tested, details on the installation of a series of child seats will help parents to make the safest choice for their kids," it said.