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Foton Tunland gets just three crash stars

The Tunland, priced from $34,500, had relatively poor crash test performance and lacked stability control.

The newest Chinese badge to land here has failed to get full marks in Australian New Car Assessment Program crash tests.

ANCAP put the Foton Tunland 4WD light-commercial dual-cab ute through its safety tests and ranked it as a three-star car - an outcome the company expected, given the absence of electronic equipment now deemed mandatory for a full five-star rank.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh says the Tunland, priced from $34,500, had relatively poor crash test performance and lacked stability control. "Stability control is a life-saver -- particularly in vehicles with a higher centre of gravity.

There really is no excuse for a new vehicle coming into the market today to be without stability control, which is now mandatory for passenger cars,'' McIntosh says. 

Two veterans of the SUV segment scored full marks in the latest round of tests -- the Toyota LandCruiser and veteran Mitsubishi Pajero --were both upgraded to five stars after getting equipment and trim upgrades.

A change in standard equipment across the LandCruiser 200 Series range added dual front knee airbags -- a safety feature previously only available on the top-spec models. 

Mitsubishi's Pajero models built from April this year will rank as five-star SUVs after trim and equipment upgrades - energy-absorbing material has been applied to the steering column underside and a passenger seatbelt alert has been added.

"These are very popular choices for fleets and families alike and we now know they'll be better protected in these upgraded models,'' Mr McIntosh says.

FAA Automotive Australia director and spokesperson for Foton light commercial and passenger vehicles in Australia, Daniel Phelan, predicted the ANCAP results last month, saying he expected the Tunland to rank as a three-star car because of the standard equipment on offer.