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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Car Reviews arrow Five out of Six for Audi
Five out of Six for Audi PDF Print E-mail

In recent years safety has become more of a prime consideration for modern motor cars; a selling point even.  This is partly to do with the determined efforts of the European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP) which is run independently under the auspices of the FIA, motor racing’s governing body.

Five out of Six for Audi
Five out of Six for Audi
EuroNCAP was the creation of FIA president Max Mosley, although its current chairman is Professor Claes Tingvall, one of the world’s leading experts on accident investigations.  The Swedish professor said late last year, in an impassioned speech at the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid: “The killing has got to stop!” 

The professor was referring to the fact that in Europe alone, five people a day die and 115 are seriously injured.  He went on, “Car manufacturers have had the ability to save this pain and suffering for years – but have chosen not to do so.”

Despite these assertions, it is comforting to know that cars are becoming safer for their occupants.  It has long been an industry adage that a small car is never as safe as a larger one, but with improvements in materials and the addition of greater built-in safety features, small cars such as the Ford Focus and the Mazda3 are now achieving respectable scores in many of the EuroNCAP tests.

The Audi A6, a mid-sized executive car, recently achieved top scores in its tests, with a five-star rating – the maximum awarded – in occupant protection crash tests.  In the USA, the Audi was awarded the highest rating of “double best pick” by the authoritative Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The side impact test is a particularly challenging part of the IIHS tests with vehicles striking a moving barrier at a speed of 50 km/h.  The barrier is shaped to resemble the front end of a pick-up or SUV.  Following the tests, both frontal and side impacts, structural deformation as well as the kinematics and biomechanical stresses to which the occupants would be subjected is carefully evaluated.

The similar side impact test in Europe is of particular significance in Germany where over half the major injuries in road accidents occur where a car hits a pole or a tree.

The A6 is a particularly stylish auto that for some reason has never achieved the sales success that it deserves.  Powered by a wide range of engines, both gasoline and diesel, the most popular is the two liter TDI, an economical and ecologically efficient diesel four.  All diesel motors are now fitted with highly competent particulate filters making them among the cleanest engines in the world.

Although the Audi scored the maximum five stars in the EuroNCAP frontal and side impact tests, it was rated less highly in terms of pedestrian safety, as is often the case with larger vehicles.

It is an unfortunate fact that cars which achieve high ratings in frontal and side impact tests, rarely feature in the pedestrian safety scores.  This is particularly true of luxury SUVs, such as the Volvo XC90 and BMW’s X5 which both scored highly (five stars each) in impact tests, yet because of their height and bulk achieved relatively poor ratings in pedestrian safety: the BMW only one star, the Volvo two. 

In terms of assessing the ratings, research demonstrates that cars with a three- or four-star impact score are up to 30 per cent safer for their occupants than a car with only two stars.  Regrettably, no vehicle to date has achieved the maximum four stars in pedestrian safety.

At the same 2004 conference at the Bernabeu Stadium, a UK authority on road safety, the former transport minister David Jamieson, said, “It is encouraging that we are seeing more cars achieving three stars for pedestrian protection, although the majority are still only receiving one star.  I would urge manufacturers to implement improvements in pedestrian protection ahead of the European Standards which will soon take effect.”

You can check the ratings of your particular car at European New Car Assessment Programme

-JH 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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