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An airbag mishap during crash tests triggered a safety recall by Hyundai for its new Santa Fe SUV, and despite impacting its protection rating, it still scored five stars in the latest round of Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) testing.
ANCAP said tests last month by Euro NCAP found a side curtain airbag failed to deploy properly after it tore on a mounting bolt and then became caught on a seatbelt anchor.
ANCAP reported that although the new tests did not show the airbag being torn, it still became caught on the C-pillar seatbelt upper mount and failed to deploy as intended. Hyundai subsequently fitted a protective cover over the seatbelt mounting bolt.
The result reduced the SUV’s score for adult occupant protection from the excellent rating of 37.89 points out of a possible 38 points, down to 35.89. The result is still well within the five-star safety rating for side impact and oblique pole tests.
ANCAP this week reported that the Santa Fe was one of four vehicles to get five-star ratings in the latest tests that are based on Euro NCAP analysis.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia posted a safety recall notice on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recall website on November 8 stating that the deployed curtain airbag may interfere with the seatbelt anchor.
In its statement, Hyundai said some vehicles may have rear side curtain airbag cushion damage when the airbag is deployed and that the seatbelt mounting bolt may damage the airbag fabric.
“The airbag may not provide optimum protection, and may cause serious injury to the rear occupant,” Hyundai said in its recall notice.
ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin said Euro NCAP had identified two issues with the deployment of the curtain airbag in Santa Fe models fitted with a panoramic roof – the airbag tear and the fouling of the bag with the seatbelt anchor bolt.
He said penalties were applied to scoring of the side impact and oblique pole tests to reflect the increased head injury risk.
“ANCAP notified the Australian vehicle standards regulator of the issue, resulting in a national recall to remedy models already in service. A production change has been implemented by Hyundai for new models,” Mr Goodwin said.
In assessing the safety rating of the new Santa Fe, Mr Goodwin said the seven-seat SUV did not have top-tether anchor points for the third seat row.
But he commended it on a new child occupant detection device that alerts the driver when leaving the car if a rear seat occupant is detected. This reduces the chance of a baby or young child being left in an unattended vehicle.
In other ANCAP results, Mr Goodwin said the new Focus small car scored well, getting maximum points for child occupant protection testing and for having auto emergency braking (AEB) in both forward and reverse.
ANCAP also awarded five stars to all versions of the battery-electric Jaguar I-Pace, one of the few vehicles to have an external airbag that provides increased protection to pedestrians.
The new Genesis G70 also received a five-star rating but had a ‘poor’ rating for rear passenger pelvis protection in the full-width crash test and ‘marginal’ ratings for driver protection in the oblique pole test and whiplash test.