i20 Cross stops short, crash tester suggests

The just-launched Hyundai i20 Cross has been slammed by the national safety agency for lacking key assists.
Monday March 20, 2017

By Richard Bosselman

HYUNDAI’S latest small car has also felt the heat from the country’s crash test authority whereas the brand’s first petrol-electric product has passed muster.

The i20 Cross, which has only been on sale for a month and was considered a flawed choice in a recent MotoringNetwork test for coming into market with an old generation engine with a four-speed automatic that we considered out of sorts with today’s expectation, has also come under fire in the latest round of Australasian New Car Assessment Programme safety ratings, mainly on grounds it provides, in ANCAP's view, insufficient modern safety aids.

Four cars were put under crash test scrutiny, but whereas the Korean brand’s Ioniq hybrid – which is also sold in New Zealand in a full electric format - hit the top five-star star ANCAP safety rating, along with Audi’s new A5 launching soon and the Volvo S90 large sedan, the news wasn’t so good for the i20.

ANCAP reckoned the Cross and the orthodox i20 hatch – cars which are identical save for one having an elevated ride height – were only worthy of four stars, the same score it earned when tested by the sister Euro NCAP organisation last year.

This will be a crushing blow to Hyundai New Zealand, which had hoped its baby machine would do well as a fleet product. However, most private fleets now follow NZ Government advice and only select cars with five star ratings. That ruling also applies to Government department choice.

Stella Stocks, who is motoring services general manager for the New Zealand Automobile Association, which speaks on behalf of ANCAP in New Zealand, the result will be disappointing for consumers who have come to expect much on the safety front from the Korean marque.

She reminds that in 2015 the luxury Hyundai Genesis was declared the safest by a significant margin at the New Zealand Car of the Year Awards.

“Safety standards are rising, which means car markets need to push harder to meet consumer expectations,” Ms Stocks said in comment sent out overnight.

ANCAP determined the Hyundai i20 was let down in the areas of child occupant protection and safety assist.

It was also critical of crash prevention technology such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and emergency brake assist not being available on the i20. 

By comparison, the Ioniq ANCAP tested has autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and emergency braking assist. It also includes lane support systems and a manual speed limiter.

As a global leader in producing safe vehicles, the Volvo S90 features an impressive range of advance safety technologies as standard.

Similarly, the Audi A5 performed well in testing and is equipped with an ‘active’ bonnet and an advanced autonomous emergency braking system which can detect and avoid collisions with pedestrians.

ANCAP believes the New Zealand specification A5 also includes lane support systems as standard, although in Australia this technology is optional.

European variants of the Volvo S90 include a driver knee airbag, which is not available on the models released in New Zealand and Australia.

ANCAP is supported by all Australian motoring clubs, the New Zealand Automobile Association, the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government, Australian state and territory governments, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation.

Hyundai New Zealand has yet to respond to the criticisms.