'Best in Class' awards for adult occupant protection were also announced for the Lexus GS300 (executive) and Mercedes A-Class (small family). Seven cars have achieved the four star Euro NCAP rating for child protection. While Honda's FR-V and Suzuki's Swift were awarded the three star Euro NCAP rating for pedestrian protection.
"It is gratifying to see that more than half of the cars tested in this phase achieved the top five star rating for adult occupant protection and that three of the cars achieved the 'Best in Class' accolade, giving Europe's car buyers a wider range of safe cars than ever before to choose from, said Claes Tingvall, Euro NCAP Chairman.
In this phase, intelligent seat belt reminders for rear seat occupants have been introduced by Peugeot in their 1007 and by Mercedes in their A-Class. Two cars reported on in earlier phases, the Renault Laguna and Renault Vel Satis have had their Seat Belt Reminder systems extended to cover the Front Passenger. All of this is significant, as increased seat belt wearing rates are essential if we are to maximize the enormous safety gains achieved by Euro NCAP over recent years and save the 7,000 fatalities attributed to non-belt use in Europe.
"All but one of the cars was fitted with some form of seat belt reminder and I am delighted to see the increased fitment of belt reminders for all seating positions," remarked Tingvall.
"I am encouraged to see that more cars than ever are achieving the four Star Child Protection rating, when the recommended restraint is used. This is a very welcome development, but it is important to note that the rating applies only to the car in combination with the particular restraint used. It is also noteworthy that many manufacturers are now focused on pedestrian protection and are making a good deal of progress in improving protection for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users" Tingvall added.