The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has expressed its concerns about the recent four-star ANCAP crash safety ratings achieved by the Isuzu D-Max and Single Cab/Space Cab Holden Colorado utes.

The four-star ANCAP safety rating for the Single/Space Cab Holden Colorados closely follows the five-star ANCAP safety rating achieved by the Crew Cab Colorado earlier in 2012.

According to ANCAP, a difference in safety specifications means there is a higher risk of serious occupant injury in the Single/Space Cab Colorados and the D-Max than the Colorado Crew Cab model.

The Single /Space Cab Colorado variants are fitted with only single pre-tensioners for the seat belts and a driver seat belt reminder (SBR), compared with dual pre-tensioners and driver and front passenger SBRs which are standard on the Crew Cab.

“The four-star ANCAP safety rating for the D-Max is an improvement on the rating of the former model, but with an increasing number of fleets now requiring five-star vehicles and consumers also purchasing these utes for family transport, safety should be the priority when making the purchasing decision,” said ANCAP Chairman Mr Lauchlan McIntosh.

“The five-star ANCAP safety rating of the Colorado Crew Cabs should be praised. However, a four-star result for the Single/Space Cab models is disappointing.

“Like the Single/Space Cab Colorados, the shared-platform D-Max also has only single pre-tensioners resulting in the four-star ANCAP safety rating.

“While the Colorado’s pedestrian protection result was ‘Acceptable’ the D-Max’s was ‘Marginal’. ANCAP would like to see manufacturers all targeting the top level of pedestrian protection to reduce injuries to unprotected road users,” Mr McIntosh concluded.

This is an interesting outcome, given that the 2012 D-Max and Colorado share the same chassis platform but diverge noticeably in drive-trains, body styling and interior trim. They seem to have shared the same economies of scale on seat-belt pre-tensioners, it seems.

NCAP continues to encourage both private and commercial consumers to “accept nothing less” than five-star safety ratings across passenger and light commercial vehicles.

These ANCAP ratings are becoming increasingly pivotal in buying decisions for one-tonne pickups.

Mining giant BHP recently announced a minimum five-star rating would now apply to all vehicles purchased for its huge commercial fleet, with many other commercial fleets set to follow.

And more private buyers are demanding five-star safety given the dual-purpose ‘work and play’ role these trucks increasingly play for Aussie families. The safety bar is certainly being raised very quickly in this ultra-competitive light truck market.

The all-new Isuzu D-Max, which is loaded with dynamic and passive safety features, performed well in recent Euro NCAP testing in which it out-scored VW’s five-star Amarok in several areas.

Isuzu UTE Australia says it is addressing the latest ANCAP ratings with plans to achieve a 5-star ANCAP rating for the D-Max as soon as possible. TJ

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