The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has issued its latest safety ratings, awarding top marks to both the Mazda CX-8 seven seater and the Volvo XC40 crossover.
Released to the public in July, the new Mazda CX-8 is the first locally tested vehicle subjected to ANCAP's tightened testing regime, which is designed to make achieving the five-star badge a nudge more difficult.
Crash tested at Sydney's Crashlab facility last month, and assessed for smash-avoidance overseas, the large SUV managed to pass the new test with flying colours.
The Volvo XC40 was also awarded the high mark but was instead assessed based on a test conducted by Euro NCAP.
The new testing protocols should put more pressure on car manufacturers to improve passenger and pedestrian safety, according to ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin.
"We now test and rate against four key pillars of assessment, and across these we have implemented a range of enhancements to encourage vehicle manufacturers to improve the active and passive safety elements of their models," he said.
The enhanced program also has an elevated focus on child and female safety, he said.
"Most notably, we’re looking at the performance and effectiveness of active safety assist technologies, and the ability of a vehicle to protect a broader range of occupants, including children and females."
The Mazda CX-8 fared well across all four areas of assessment.
Specifically, the new testing regime assesses the installation of "commonly available" restraints in each of the rear seating positions, and uses six- and 10-year-old dummies in the physical crash tests.
The Mazda CX-8 fared well across all four areas of assessment, with a 96 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child protection, 72 per cent for pedestrian protection and 73 per cent in the safety assist category.
Volvo's new small SUV also performed well, managing a 97 per cent score in adult protection, 84 per cent in child protection, 71 per cent in pedestrian protection and 78 per cent in safety assist.
"It’s encouraging to see Mazda and Volvo set the standard, with their CX-8 and XC40 models being the first to step up and achieve five stars against our increased test standards" Goodwin said.
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