Believe it or not, it’s possible for a car to receive a zero-star safety rating. The honour goes to the Mitsubishi Express, a van that boasts “Mitsubishi’s reputation for robust reliability” and promises to “[get] your business moving”.
Advertised as a mobile office and a spacious vehicle for workplaces on the go, safety is conspicuously left in the shadows with only one mention of the word on Mitsubishi’s Express webpage. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the Mitsubishi Express has become Australia’s first ever car to receive a zero-star rating in the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
So what does a zero-star safety rating mean? The ANCAP report reveals that the Express “lacks active safety systems”, “delivered marginal performance in physical crash tests and lacks basic safety features that consumers have come to expect in a newly released model.” The most concerning news was that crash test dummies received serious injury to the chest in 3 out of 4 crash angles and that both drivers and passengers were at high risk of receiving serious neck injuries.
Common safety features (Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane support systems (LSS), features found on most cars released onto the Australian market) were also missing from the Mitsubishi Express, as were a number of airbags in key positions.
While the Express still received a score of 55% on adult occupation protection and 40% on vulnerable road user protection (both scores are well below par for Australian cars), the safety assist score was only 7%, limiting the Express to a maximum safety rating of zero stars as decided by ANCAP’s rules.
What’s interesting is that the Mitsubishi Express is identical to the Renault Trafic (except for a few minor design differences) which received a 3-star rating in Europe back in 2015. The new zero-star rating can be partially attributed to the fact that ANCAP and its European equivalent raise their safety standards every 2 years. However, the score is still dismally low – in 2019, the Toyota Hiace earned 5 stars against the last set of criteria.
So, will we be seeing the Mitsubishi Express on Australian roads? The answer is yes, because ANCAP does not have the power to remove cars from sale in Australia nor ban cars from being driven. We do, however, predict a drop in sales of Mitsubishi Express vans and therefore fewer on the road – and that’s probably a good thing!
Image credit: Mitsubishi Motors