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Ford Transit and Toyota HiAce on top as ANCAP expands scope to active safety in vans

The Ford Transit comes with a long list of active safety systems as standard, including AEB with pedestrian detection.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has expanded its testing of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) from passenger cars, SUVS and utes to now include light- and heavy-commercial vans.

Spurred by the surge in van sales during the Coronavirus pandemic, 15 existing vans have now been reassessed for features such as lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) – the latter is mandatory for a full five-star rating in other vehicle classes.

Of note, ANCAP did not conduct testing itself, but used Euro NCAP results as it does with other vehicles when the specifications are comparable.

As such, the Ford Transit and Toyota HiAce vans topped the tables thanks to the standard fitment of the aforementioned safety systems, as well as lane departure warning, driver monitoring system and speed limiter.

The Ford Transit Custom was only awarded a 'Silver' though, despite sharing the same standard active safety equipment and carrying a maximum five-star ANCAP crash safety rating, though it was tested in 2012.

At the bottom however (and deemed ‘Not Recommended’ by ANCAP), is the Renault Trafic, Mitsubishi Express, Iveco Daily, Renault Master and Hyundai iLoad with no standard active safety features save for a speed limiter in some.

It is notable that ANCAP now classes the Hyundai iLoad as ‘Not Recommended’ despite it wearing a four-star crash safety rating from 2011.

Other vehicles assessed in the update include the Mercedes-Benz Vito, Peugeot Expert, Volkswagen Transporter and Fiat Ducato, with the full list of results available on the ANCAP website.

Why now when some of these vans have been available years? According to ANCAP, the longer lifespan of commercial vans, and the fact that their own testing only covers sub-3.5 tonne passenger cars, SUVs and utes, means they will be on the road for longer.

“Commercial vans generally operate with higher levels of exposure and hold a much longer economic life-span due to their primary commercial-use and goods-carrying function, and this makes their active safety capability arguable even more critical than that of passenger cars,” ANCAP director of communications Rhianne Robson said.

“Regardless of segment or intended use, we urge fleet buyers and consumers to prioritise the purchase and use of vehicles with active safety features.”