The most important aspect of a vehicle is the safety of the passengers. Global NCAP is an organization known for its safety testing standards. Under the “Safer Cars For India” initiative, Global NCAP has been testing Indian passenger vehicles to determine their on-road safety quality. It has been observed that Indian car manufacturers like Mahindra and Tata Motors, have passed most of the tests with flying colours. Whereas, some of the most popular segment-leading cars have come up with shocking results. Post the latest test rounds, the Global NCAP under its Safer Cars for India initiative launched in January 2014, has tested 41 cars to date.
As per the latest reports, Global NCAP has tested the popular Kia Seltos, Hyundai i10 Grand Nios, and Maruti’s so-called SUV- S-Presso. As per the test results, the Kia Seltos has received just a 3-star rating, the Grand i10 Nios received two stars, and the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso got a zero rating by Global NCAP for adult occupant safety. However, all three models have received a 2-star rating for child occupant safety.
A statement by Global NCAP says, ‘For the Safer Cars For India project, Global NCAP currently only tests frontal crash protection for occupants and not side-impact and pedestrian protection. These very relevant safety scenarios will form part of the future evolution of Global NCAP’s crash test protocols in India’. “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 performance. Surely it’s time for Suzuki Maruti to demonstrate this commitment to safety for its customers,” says Alejandro Furas, Secretary General, Global NCAP.
“We have seen important progress on car safety in India, with new legislation introduced by the government and manufacturers like Mahindra and Tata accepting the Global NCAP five-star challenge and producing models which go well beyond minimum regulatory requirements,” says David Ward, President, Towards Zero Foundation.
Starting with the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, as per the results, S-Presso has received zero stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection. This is because the S-Presso offers only a driver airbag as standard. As per the test result, the passenger’s neck and chest zone have been severely impacted due to the crash, which explains the reason behind the zero-star result. NCAP has rated the S-Presso’s structure, footwell, and body as unstable and should be improved. Also, the S-Presso does not come with 3-point belts in all positions or ISOFIX anchorages for the Child Restraint Systems (CRS).
Speaking about the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, the popular hatchback has achieved just two stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection. The Grand i10 Nios offers double frontal airbags and pretensioners for both front passengers as standard. However, as per the NCAP test report, the Hyundai i10’s structure, and footwell were rated as unstable. While the head and neck protection for adult occupants was rated as good. Also, the chest protection of the car was rated as weak for the driver and adequate for the passenger leading to limitation of the Seat belt reminder (SBR) points having standard SBR for front passengers.
Child occupant protection showed poor results, with the three-year-old dummy, showing poor protection for the head due to excessive forward excursion of the head during the crash and limited chest protection. Also, the car does not offer standard 3-point belts in all seating positions and does not offer standard ISOFIX anchorages.
Global NCAP added, “It is surprising that in the 21st-century global carmakers are not offering 3-point belts for all occupants with standard ISOFIX anchorages. Lap belts in the middle position make it impossible to properly and safely install a CRS and offer much lower protection than a three-point belt for adults. Airbags are not a substitute for seatbelts, passengers must always wear seatbelts.’
Lastly, speaking about one of the most popular SUVs in the Indian markets, the Seltos, has achieved a three-star rating for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection. The Seltos offers double frontal airbags and pretensioners as standard. Its structure was also rated as a borderline case unstable. While the footwell area was clearly rated as unstable. Head protection was adequate for both front passengers as both airbags bottomed out during the crash test. The neck protection for adult occupants was also rated as good. However, the chest protection was rated as good for the passenger and marginal for the driver.
The India-spec Kia Seltos was launched in September 2019, the Seltos was also the carmaker’s first product offering in India, and has proven to be one of the top-selling midsize SUVs in the market with over 1,00,000 units sold within a little over a year the company’s debut in India. According to the rules, the Kia Seltos base HTE variant, which misses out on certain safety features, was used for the crash tests.
Child occupant protection showed poor results in the report, mainly because the manufacturers refused to recommend CRS for the test, and this decision brings the dynamic score to zero. The dynamic performance was poor as the head of the 3-year-old dummy showed contact during the rebound face after the impact. The car showed limited protection for the 3-year-old head and neck, while the 18-month-old received acceptable protection. The base variant of Seltos does not offer standard 3 point belts in all seating positions and has no ISOFIX anchorages standard.