Kiwi vehicle buyers who value safety performance have been warned off a new Chinese made ute.
In the latest round of crash testing information from the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (Ancap), the 4×2 petrol dual cab Steed failed to meet even basic standards during its crash test achieving a very poor two star safety rating.
New Zealand’s Automobile Association (AA) motoring services general manager Stella Stocks says if price (the Steed is new from $26,990 in NZ) is a key factor for those looking to buy a ute, they’d be better off buying a second-hand one with a better safety rating.
“While Great Wall Motors has added safety assist technology not available on its earlier offering to the market, the Steed’s structural integrity is like a step back in time.
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“In new cars today we expect to see a very high standard of occupant protection during a crash test. However, the Steed doesn’t come close to meeting that expectation.”
Lower and upper leg injury was likely in a crash due to excessive footwell deformation, pedal displacement and separation of footwell panels. In addition, steering column components were a potential source of knee injury for the driver while dash components could cause injury to both driver and passenger.
“Manufacturers need to do more than just go through the motions of improving safety. While it’s great to see important technology like electronic stability control and curtain airbags include on the Steed, cabin integrity also needs to be good.”
Stocks says that for the same money, buyers should consider second-hand options built by brands that put safety first.
Ancap also had a dig at Great Wall’s decision to market the Steed as “all new” when “there has been little change to the vehicle’s structure”, while also pointing out the omission of top tether child anchor points that renders the vehicle “not suitable for transporting young children”.
The Steed’s whiplash protection was described as “marginal”, subjecting a driver’s head to 59g of force – well more than the 46.5g figure recorded by Hyundai’s five-star i30 hatch in the latest batch of Ancap ratings.
A Great Wall Motors spokesman, Andrew Ellis, says the company is disappointed by the result and is working to rectify the issue.
“We have sent all the data to our engineering team in head office and set up a response team to investigate what needs to be done to improve the Ancap performance of our product,” he says.
“We thought the additional safety features would help improve the Steed’s Ancap rating.
“It’s clear to everyone in the organisation our Ancap test standards need a dramatic improvement.”
At the same time, top Ancap results were achieved by the Honda Civic (sedan and hatch) and the Hyundai i30.
“Honda and Hyundai are among the brands we expect to produce safe cars and, like many other manufacturers, continue to lift the bar with new models ultimately improving safety outcomes for all of us.”
Earlier in April, the BMW 520d was another to earn five stars, with Stocks saying it achieved high scores for adult and child occupant protection and also pedestrian protection.
* Ancap is supported by the NZ AA, the NZ and Australian Governments, Australian state and territory governments, all Australian motoring clubs, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation.