Euro NCAP’S First Rear Impact (Whiplash) Test Results

Euro NCAP has released the results for seats put through the organisation's first ever round of rear impact testing. Euro NCAP carried out whiplash tests on the front seats of 25 passenger cars crash-tested by the organisation during 2008. The results clearly reveal that most manufacturers still have a long way to go in improving seat design that will protect consumers from whiplash injury.

Only five out of the 25 seats tested and taken from new cars received Euro NCAP's best score with a 'good' or green result. These five cars were the Volvo XC60, Alfa Romeo Mito, Volkswagen Golf VI, Audi A4 and Vauxhall Insignia. This green result reflects a state of the art performance in whiplash protection. Euro NCAP notes the good development strategies that these car makers have adopted to prevent whiplash, but is concerned by the surprisingly low number of seats receiving a good result, when these cars are newly available on the market. Eight seats of the same 25 were rated as 'poor' or 'red' meaning that the seat occupant has a significantly higher risk of developing a long term injury in the case of a low speed rear end collision. These cars were the Daihatsu Cuore, Citroen Berlingo, Hyundai i10, Citroen C5, Ford Kuga, Daihatsu Terios, Peugeot 308CC and the Suzuki Splash.

Euro NCAP's test procedure was developed to take into account both the geometrical aspects of the seat, the size and shape of the head restraint and its proximity to the occupant, and its dynamic performance during an actual crash test. This dynamic performance is assessed using a seat mounted on a sled test, subjected to low, moderate and higher test severities representing a range of crash forces causing injury. Some of the seats that received Euro NCAP's worst result, with a 'poor' or 'red' score, provided protection at the lower test severity, but yielded excessively at the higher test severity leading to a zero score. An example of this performance is the Daihatsu Terios.

27 November 2008 Staff

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