The baby Suzuki Alto trailed a five-star pack led by the new Audi Q5 in the latest round of Euro NCAP testing but the local importer says it is not worried by the result. Instead, Suzuki Australia is banking on a four-star tick once it is crash tested locally following its launch next month.
"It wasn't our car. The Australian specification car is significantly different, with six airbags as standard and ESP available on the higher-range car," says Tony Devers, general manager of Suzuki Australia.
"We've done some local research and ANCAP says it is most likely to get four stars. We're very confident it will be four stars. We're looking forward to having it tested here. We're confident." Devers says it's also important to consider the car's price and its likely competition.
"People say it is compared to the Hyundai i20, but it should be against the i10 and some other small cars from Europe."
Even so, Euro NCAP chief Michiel van Ratingen, highlighted the areas where the Alto is lacking.
"The Suzuki Alto scored three stars, its rating limited by its performance in adult occupant protection, child protection and safety assistance technologies," he says.
One of the Euro-focussed babies which could be on the list of Alto rivals is the Kia Soul, which picked up a five-star award from Euro NCAP. It is costlier but also cashing-in on the funk factor with young buyers.
The Soul joined the Q5, Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 and the Peugeot 3008, which is not planned for Australia, with the top five-star ranking.
The latest Euro NCAP testing now includes pedestrian and child-occupant protection although, unlike Australia, there is no mandatory requirement for ESP stability control to qualify for a five-star score.
'"At the heart of the new rating scheme is the objective to offer consumers a full picture of a car”s overall safety performance," says van Ratingen.
"Many claim that the weight and size of a car is the only criteria for safety. We believe that there are other aspects of safety that are just as important. The smaller cars we tested whose results are released today show that size should not stand in the way of all-round safety.'
"Euro NCAP would like to commend the Honda Jazz and the Hyundai i20 for their impressive pedestrian scores that not only meet current requirements, but also meet Euro NCAP's future requirements. Seats from the Kia Soul achieved a good result in the programme's whiplash testing, again revealing that it is not only larger or expensive cars that achieve impressive results in safety."
EURO NCAP SCORES