New Suzuki Jimny scores 3-star ANCAP safety rating, AA NZ responds
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It's one of the most highly anticipated new cars of 2019, but the incoming Suzuki Jimny has one undeniable vice — its safety rating.
We already knew this, having seen it score a 3-star rating in last year's European NCAP testing. And now, in fresh ANCAP testing closer to home, it's scored another below average 3-star safety rating.
The compact SUV, which prides itself in rugged simplicity, scored a 73 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 52 per cent for pedestrian detection, and 50 per cent for safety assist features. Most notably, ANCAP's tests found that the Jimny has "structural weaknesses", and that their dummy's head 'bottomed' out on the steering wheel in front offset testing due to an airbag that inflated too slowly on impact.
“The Jimny’s performance in frontal offset testing is far below what we would expect from a new vehicle in 2019," says AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks.
“At minimum, we’d expect all manufacturers today to be bringing in vehicles with the basics right. That includes having reliable airbags and a strong structure that retains its integrity if involved in a collision.”
Other concerns from ANCAP's testing included excessive movement in the steering wheels and pedals, and components on the dash that could cause additional injury in a crash.
Despite its targeting of the lower end of the market and the aforementioned rating, the Jimny actually has all of the necessary safety aids to score a 5-star rating. But, ANCAP's verdict is that many of these elements aren't calibrated well enough to be truly effective.
“The protection of other road users is also a key factor when it comes to vehicle safety today,” Stocks added.
“Prior to the Jimny, we’ve seen a number of 5 star safety-rated vehicles come in to the market with strong performances in all areas. This has lifted the bar of what consumers are coming to expect in new vehicles safety-wise.”
It's a series of events that has similarities to that of the current-generation Ford Mustang. The pony car received a dismal 2-star rating back in 2017, with mild improvements in last year's face-lifted model only bumping it to a 3-star rating.
And yet, the Mustang and Jimny are both huge sales successes for their brand. For a time, the Mustang was able to claim status as the world's best selling sports car, while the Jimny has been selling so well in Europe that there's a 12-month waiting list for them.
A large number of those aforementioned sales came from buyers that knew of the safety risks, and bought the vehicle anyway. Time will tell whether the same sales success story for the Jimny occurs when it finally lands in New Zealand. Although I'd wager that, much like the Mustang, it'll probably still sell like hot cakes.