Safety authority ANCAP is wrapping up for the calendar year and has listed its top performing vehicles of 2022.

    ANCAP assessed 30 models during the calendar year, only two of which – the Ford Mustang Mach E and Volkswagen Multivan – aren’t sold in Australia, at least not yet.

    When looking at weighted scores across the four testing areas, the Tesla Model Y came out on top with a score of 92.6 per cent.

    The Lexus NX received the second-highest overall weighted score for 2022 at 89.2 per cent, while the petrol-powered LDV MIFA and its electric MIFA 9 counterpart also reached the podium with a weighted score of 87.4 per cent.

    With the Tesla and LDV on the podium, that means two of the three highest-performing vehicles in ANCAP’s safety assessment this year were Chinese-built vehicles.

    “Once again, we’ve seen high levels of safety performance across a range of vehicle types and brands. Of interest this year is that each of the three highest scorers include alternative-powered models,” said ANCAP chief executive officer Carla Hoorweg.

    Looking at the 69 vehicle models tested against the outgoing 2020-22 test and rating criteria, the Tesla Model Y still topped the charts with the highest scores in adult occupant protection (97 per cent) and safety assist (98 per cent) categories.

    The Ford Ranger and Everest and Nissan Qashqai and Pathfinder were locked in a four-way tie for the highest child occupant protection rating (93 per cent), while if you had to be struck by a new car, the Toyota Corolla Cross’ 87 per cent score for vulnerable road user protection would make it the obvious choice.

    There are thresholds within each of these four categories that must be reached by a vehicle in order for it to earn five stars but these ratings are ubiquitous, with 61 of 69 vehicle models – or 88 per cent – receiving all five.

    “This clearly shows the desire and commitment of vehicle manufacturers to offer the safest vehicles they can into the Australian and New Zealand markets, and the continued appetite of consumers and fleet buyers who expect the highest level of safety,” said Ms Hoorweg.

    “We know the continued injection of the safest vehicles onto our roads has tangible road safety and economic benefits, and this strong performance of models rated over the past three years will see an even greater number of lives saved and serious injuries avoided.”

    Automakers can’t get complacent, however, as ANCAP is introducing more stringent test criteria for 2023.

    Vehicles must score a minimum 80 per cent in adult occupant and child occupant tests, and 70 per cent in the areas looking at vulnerable road user protection (up from 60 per cent in current protocols) and safety assist technology.

    AEB systems will need to be able to detect motorcycles for vehicles to receive the maximum score in this category, and vehicles will also be tested for their lane assist systems’ ability to detect and prevent side-swipe crashes with motorcycles.

    Pedestrian and cyclist crash testing will use a more accurate dummy, while new test scenarios will include:

    • AEB Backover: Auto-braking in reverse with a child pedestrian dummy
    • AEB Junction (Cyclist): Where a cyclist crosses the path of a vehicle turning into a side street
    • Cyclist Dooring: The vehicle must alert occupants of a cyclist approaching from behind and set to pass alongside, or prevent opening of the door. This feature is often called Safe Exit Assist, and is increasingly common in new cars

    AEB systems will be assessed for both head-on and junction crossing performance, while vehicles will be assessed for their ability to notify the driver or emergency services if a child has been left in a locked car.

    ANCAP will also look at the safety performance of submerged vehicles.

    Several existing assessment areas will also be “enhanced”, including:

    • Greater focus on vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility, introducing a potential 8.00 point penalty compared with the current 4.00 point penalty
    • A 10 per cent increase to the star rating thresholds for Vulnerable Road User Protection
    • The assessment of driver monitoring systems to manage driver inattention and fatigue
    • An expansion of AEB test scenarios to include more night-time tests and child pedestrian avoidance tests when a vehicle is in reverse

    ANCAP notes its advocacy for standard fitment of autonomous emergency braking, centre airbags and lane-keep assists is “conservatively estimated to have contributed to 22 fewer fatalities and 571 serious injuries on Australian roads over the period 2019-2021”.

    It also expects this to result in 15 fewer fatalities and 442 fewer serious injuries in 2027.

    The authority, along with its European counterpart Euro NCAP, has also released its vision for 2030 detailing both new and expanded areas of assessment and flagging the possible expansion into assessing motorcycles, motor scooters and heavy goods vehicles – where, they note, there’s currently no consumer advocacy platform.

    You can read more about its 2030 vision here.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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