The safety body Euro NCAP has revealed that many of the most popular commercial vans are performing badly during their safety tests. Euro NCP claimed that the tests were based on more true to life situations than the standards tests that are performed on vehicles before they are road legal. The results have led to the safety organisation calling for higher levels of safety equipment in vans and a toughening up of that they deem ‘lenient’ legal safety requirements.
The Ford Transit’s Custom was the only vehicle to gain five stars in the tests, while the Renault Trafic (which is also sold as the Vauxhall Vivaro and the Nissan Primetar) only scored two stars. Euro NCAP also tested vans that had up to nine seats as Dr. Michiel van Ratingan, Secretary General Euro NCAP, noted that large families are now opting to use vans instead of MPVS. He said “being derived from commercial plan platforms, these people-carriers are usually less equipped for safety than normal passenger cars. If you have a family with lots of kids and are tempted to buy such a vehicle, please be aware that they do not offer the latest state of the art in vehicle safety”.
Common problems of the vehicles include poor safety assist features, to the point where Euro NCAP even refused to perform a safety assist assessment due to the lack of electronic stability control in the Renault Trafic. Furthermore, all the vehicles – including the Ford Transit – were marked under fifty percent for pedestrian safety, meaning that if a driver has an accident and doesn’t have adequate van insurance they will have to personally pay for all costs and could even find themselves being prosecuted.
Unsurprisingly, the manufacturers of these vehicles have already released statements claiming that they are addressing the issues. Fiat has even promised that a front passenger airbag and a speed limitation advice will be featured as standard in more European markets.