It is sad to see that safety standards in the automotive industry differ so much depending on the market and region. North America, Europe, and Asia have strict laws that define the level of protection a new vehicle should provide, but the situation is different in markets around Latin America and Africa, for example. Recent results from NCAP’s Latin test program show models currently sold in the region provide barely any minimal protection in the event of an accident.
The New Car Assessment Program for Latin America and the Caribbean recently evaluated the Honda WR-V, a subcompact crossover manufactured in Brazil. The small five-seater vehicle comes as standard with two front airbags and an electronic stability system, although so far it hasn’t been enough to earn more than one star in crash tests. And this poor rating stems not only from its standard equipment, but also from its poor protection in the event of an accident.
Latin NCAP tested the WR-V in frontal impact, side impact, whiplash and pedestrian protection. The best results obtained were only 58.82 percent in pedestrian protection, while protection for adult passengers and protection for vulnerable road users was in the range of 40 percent. Not only that, the Latin NCAP indicates that crossover seat belts do not meet organizational requirements, while the lack of side-curtain airbags means protection in a side-impact collision is minimal.
NCAP Latin also tested the Volkswagen Nivus and the German crossover received the safety organization’s highest five-star rating. The standard safety equipment of the Brazilian-made Nivus includes six airbags and an ESC, while at least 50 percent of customers also opt for an autonomous emergency braking system. NCAP Latin said all tested safety systems worked well during the test.
“Consumers should be happy to find a more popular model that achieves 5 stars,” commented NCAP’s Latin secretary general, Alejandor Furas. “It surprised NCAP Latin to find such a difference between the Nivus and the WR-V, which are competitors in the same segment, as Honda only scored one star mainly due to the lack of safety equipment. Latin NCAP strongly encouraged Honda to upgrade the WR-V and immediately bring the five-star model back to the region as it last happened in 2015.”