Ten things you might not have known about ANCAP

Have you ever seen those little stars at the bottom of a car review? Ok, so you know what they are, and you know they're from ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) but have you any idea of the ins and outs of how cars are tested? While many will have seen the super slow-mo collisions, not many will have heard some of the intricate details of the tests. This week we look for ten of the most interesting elements behind these important tests and how they are run. 
 

The ten things you might not have known

1. It’s based on benefits, not features – Vehicles are based on the injuries sustained by the dummies in key body regions (head, torso, thigh, calves and feet). The potential vulnerability and potential risk is where the cars get their star rating. The vehicles are not scored on how many safety features they have.
2. ANCAP runs 5 tests; frontal, side collision, pedestrian, pole and whiplash (added start of 2012) – Have a look at the videos and photos here.
3. All frontal crashes are based on a 64km crash – This is considered the most appropriate speed as it covers a large percentage of deaths caused by a frontal collision.
4. ANCAP began testing and assessing vehicles in 1993 and in 1999 aligned their test protocols with the Euro NCAP protocols.
5. ANCAP does not currently publish a child occupant rating like the one published by Euro NCAP.
6. ANCAP does not test vehicles with bull bars fitted – This is the case with most, if not all additional exterior accessories.
7. You have twice the chance of being killed or seriously injured in an ANCAP 1 star rated vehicle compared to an ANCAP 5 star rated vehicle.
8. ANCAP does not recommend purchasing vehicles with less than 4 stars.
9. For the frontal crash test, 40% of the driver's side of the car makes contact with a crushable barrier at 64km/h – According to the ANCAP site, this represents a large portion of crashes. Considering how many times I’ve seen this signature on cars on the roadside, I'm not surprised.
10. For the side impact crash test a 950kg trolley is run into the vehicle at 50km. This simulates a side on collision or a "t-bone" accident.

Bonus info

  • ANCAP are also introducing a roof crush test to test for roof strength in a rollover - this will be in place from 2014.
  • The number of Safety Assist Technologies (SATs) required in order to achieve a 5 star ANCAP safety rating will increase each year.
     

ANCAP’s top 5 features

1. Structural integrity – For impact energy absorption.
2. Anti lock breaking systems – Allowing for steering control during breaking.
3. Airbags – frontal, side, curtain, knee – Absorbing impact energy and cushioning driver.
4. Seatbelts – 3 point restraints for all occupants. At times these work in conjunction with airbags.
5. Electronic stability control – Returns vehicle to straighter lines during sharp steering manoeuvres.
 

Final thoughts

So there you have it, all the information you’ll need on the five star ANCAP rating system. Personally I’m most surprised that the entire process is based on injuries inflicted on the passenger and driver. I originally assumed that the features were the core component, however the driver centred approach does make a lot more sense. It's also remarkable that only 5 scenarios are tested. It seems that while these do cover a large percentage of real world crash types, budget is holding up more extensive testing.

Do you know your car rating?
 

Do you think this is the best way to test cars?
 

Please comment below.

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Sam Whether it's the best way to test cars or not, it's currently the best we have. If readers are looking for a good database to compare cars they're thinking of purchasing, there's a good one at http://rightcar.govt.nz/vehicle-ratings.html which is helpful. 30/01/2014 8:59:51 AM
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