Euro NCAP’s awarding of the maximum five stars to the Infiniti FX, confirmed today, is an endorsement of the holistic, high-tech approach to safety that Infiniti takes with all its models.
The high-performance luxury crossover from Japan is the first Infiniti ever to face Euro NCAP’s crash barrier – as well as the first luxury SUV to be assessed under this year’s more rigorous new system and therefore the only one to be award five stars under it.
The results – from the world’s most demanding independent crash test organisation – are testament to the engineers’ efforts and the commitment to road safety that’s been at the heart of Infiniti since the company was formed 20 years ago. At Infiniti, dedicated engineering teams are involved from the design stage to ensure every new model not only surpasses all known standards but also leads the way in introducing new safety technologies for the future.
In the tests for 2009, Euro NCAP considers a new “safety assist” element in determining star ratings. The FX recorded a remarkable 99% – a reflection of both its highly advanced safety systems and the fact that the majority of them are standard in every version.
In this safety assist category, Euro NCAP awarded the FX extra points for its standard stability control system, seat-belt reminders for all seats and its driver-set speed limiter – all features present in every FX. But the luxury marque’s holistic approach to safety means Euro NCAP could have taken many more driver aids into account besides: for example the FX’s standard seat-belt pretensioners that act to grip the front seat occupants under fast manoeuvres, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, automatic driving position system, intelligent all-wheel drive and adaptive front lighting system with Xenon headlights.
On the FX50S, the standard intelligent cruise control and brake assist, Around View Monitor, Rear Active Steer and tyre pressure monitoring are all equally designed to assist the driver in ensuring that all occupants, and other road users, stay safe.
This array of often world-first technology is a large step towards Infiniti’s goal of an invisible bubble of protection all around the vehicle. Known as Safety Shield, it is the subject of ongoing development for all models in the Infiniti range and is a key factor in Infiniti’s aim to reduce the number of fatal and serious accidents involving Infiniti vehicles.
Drawing on the resources of Infiniti’s parent group and based on analysis of real-world accidents, Safety Shield integrates the safety systems in order to manage all accident phases, from risk identification to post-crash. Infiniti engineers believe a safe car is not just one that performs well in crash tests, but also one that helps the driver avoid the accident in the first place.
Many of the Safety Shield technologies are available today, many more are coming soon, including systems designed to help prevent collisions in lane-change and reversing situations. Side Collision Prevention uses sensors that constantly measure the distance to, and relative speed of, any vehicle in an adjacent lane approaching from behind. If the driver steers into its path and doesn’t heed the audible and visual alerts, a slight “yaw” effect is generated that brings the car back into the safety of its own lane automatically. In Back-up Collision Prevention, the car will automatically bring itself to a stop if there is a danger of the car reversing into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Technology like this is in addition to a designed-in strength which, according to Euro NCAP, earns its five stars in the FX by effectively minimising the risk to occupants if an accident should occur. In the crash tests, Euro NCAP awarded the FX 86% for the safety of adult occupants and 77% for the safety of child occupants, both figures demonstrating the integrity of the FX’s construction. Infiniti engineers made the new FX body particularly rigid, 1.6 times more resistant to twisting and 3.4 times more resistant to bending than the previous-generation model.
Also contributing to the FX’s five-star result were its complement of front, side and head airbags, and ISOFIX child seat anchorage points in both outer rear seats.
The five-star Euro NCAP Infiniti FX went on sale in the UK in September 2009, with prices from £42,600Published 25 November 2009