Test names four new cars that are particularly vulnerable to keyless theft
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Some new cars on the market are vulnerable to keyless thefts, UK-based tests have revealed.
Latest security ratings for seven models you can buy in showrooms today have been released by Thatcham Research, an independent automotive research centre.
Of the seven vehicles reviewed, four were found to offer 'poor' resistance to relay crimes that have spiraled in the last few years.
Thatcham launched the security rating earlier this year to help consumers understand the theft risk of vehicles before they buy them.
As with the first consumer ratings released in March, many of the assessed cars do not have sufficient defences in place to prevent criminal exploitation of the keyless entry and keyless start systems.
Of the seven vehicles tested, two were SUVs were rated as 'poor': the DS 3 Crossback and the Toyota RAV4. The remaining 'poor' models were the Mazda 3 and Volvo S60, which were also scored low for their pregnable keyless systems.
Thatcham's rating scale for vehicles is based on their vulnerability to thieves and has five category scores for security, descending from 'superior' to 'good', 'basic', 'poor' and finally 'unacceptable'.
The remaining three cars most recently reviewed - BMW 7 Series, BMW X7 and Porsche 911 - all scooped the highest ratings available. The mixed bag of results suggest that customers have to choose wisely if they want to avoid being susceptible to tech-savvy car thieves.
Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, warned that the rise of keyless car thefts was not only causing upset for those who fall victim to the crime but would soon hammer the back pockets of all drivers through higher premiums.
'Theft claims paid by insurers in the first quarter of this year were at their highest for any quarter since 2012, with a payment made to a car crime victim every eight minutes,' Billyeald explained.
'These figures demonstrate why the automotive industry must move to secure keyless entry and keyless start systems, many of which offer criminals the chance to quickly and silently circumvent otherwise robust physical security.'
He added: 'Were it not for the keyless entry and start vulnerability, all the cars assessed would have earned a 'good' rating or better.'
Thatcham went on to explain what features the 'superior' rated vehicles had that earned them the top ranking for resisting relay theft. The BMW 7 Series, BMW X7 and Porsche 911 all scored top marks because they had motion sensor enabled fobs.
If the sensor detects the fob hasn't moved for a short period, it idles and goes into a sleep mode which prevents criminals using Relay Attack kits from communicating with - and replicating the signal of - the fob to remotely gain access to the car.
While the fob for the Mazda 3 - rated as 'poor' - could be manually switched off when not in use, Thatcham said only systems that did not require active participation from the driver could earn the highest ratings.
Billyeald added: 'BMW and Porsche have acted decisively to secure vulnerable keyless entry and keyless start systems.
'Fixes are not exclusive to premium cars, there are fixes coming through on the big-sellers too, with Ford recently announcing that it has introduced a new, more secure fob for its latest Fiesta and Focus model ranges.
'We're seeing solutions applied to some new cars, let's see them applied to all.'
Earlier this year the Audi e-tron, Jaguar XE, Land Rover Evoque, Mercedes B-Class and Porsche Macan were also given superior ratings, which can only be achieved when a solution to the keyless entry and keyless start vulnerability is in place.
However, the Ford Mondeo, Hyundai Nexo, Kia ProCeed, Lexus UX and Toyota Corolla all received poor ratings. Suzuki's Jimny was the first - and currently only - vehicle to be awarded the lowest rating of unacceptable by Thatcham Research.
Laurenz Gerger, motor policy adviser at the Association of British Insurers, said: 'With car crime hitting new highs this year, a vehicle's resistance to innovative thieves should be front of mind for any consumer looking to buy a keyless car.
'We hope that today's results will encourage manufacturers and consumers alike to take action to thwart the growing issue of keyless car crime.
'Whilst progress has been positive, Thatcham's ratings show that, for many vehicles, there's still a long way to go to reduce [the cost] that is currently paid out every day for all car thefts.'
- Daily Mail