One of the sleeper hits of 2019, Suzuki's Jimny off-roader, has just been handed a three-star ANCAP safety rating.
The Jimny has emerged as something of a cult classic this year, with fans across Australia warming to its off-road punch combined with its wallet-friendly price tag, but ANCAP says the bite-sized 4WD "falls shy of expected safety standards in three of the four areas of assessment."
Whether or not that will deter fans too much remains to be seen - this is a rugged and off-road focused vehicle, after all - but ANCAP's assessment does not make for happy reading.
"The Jimny misses the mark with structural and design weaknesses, poor protection of pedestrians and cyclists, and lack of effective safety aids," says ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.
"Engineers observed a number of issues in the frontal offset test including excessive deformation of the passenger compartment, with penalties applied for loss of structural integrity, steering wheel and pedal intrusion and knee injury risk. Insufficient inflation of the driver’s airbag was also observed with the dummy contacting the steering wheel through the airbag, indicating reduced protection in more severe crashes."
The Jimny's official results were 73 per cent in Adult Occupant Protection, 52 per cent Vulnerable Road User Protection and 50 per cent in Safety Assist. It fared much better in Child Occupant Protection, recording an 84 per cent score, with ANCAP praising "its ability to accommodate a range of child restraints in its two rear seats, and provide good levels of protection to children in frontal and side crash scenarios".
In a strange twist for the Jimny, it was marked down for AEB, but not because it's missing the technology, but because ANCAP (or testing body Euro NCAP) didn't think it worked effectively enough.
“The results show that the fundamentals of vehicle safety are still critical, and simply fitting an AEB system is not enough to earn a good rating,” Goodwin says. “While marketed for off-road driving, these vehicles also spend much of their time on regular roads and buyers shouldn’t have to forego safety."
The three-star ANCAP safety rating applies to the GL and GLX variants. Suzuki Australia has been contacted for comment.
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