In 2020, this is an unacceptable result.
It's now considered normal, not outstanding, for a new vehicle to achieve a full five-out-of-five star safety rating from authorities such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). Cars are better than ever at absorbing the energy of a crash and keeping the passenger cell intact.
However, there are still some new cars and SUVs that simply aren't safe enough, one of the notable suspects being the Jeep Wrangler. Rolling around at the very bottom of this barrel is the Suzuki S-Presso, a small city hatchback sold in markets like South Africa and India. In India, it starts at around the $5,000 mark. The S-Presso was crash-tested by Global NCAP and disturbingly registered a zero-star rating for adult protection in a test at 64 km/h (40 mph).
Although the video of the crash doesn't look as terrifying as some crash tests of older vehicles, the S-Presso was lambasted for a high risk of passenger neck injuries, high chest loadings for both front occupants, an unstable structure, and an unstable footwell. The final nail in the coffin of the S-Presso, which is manufactured by Indian automaker Maruti Suzuki, is that it only comes with a driver-side front airbag.
"It is very disappointing that Maruti Suzuki, the manufacturer with the largest share of the Indian market, offers such low safety performance for Indian consumers," said Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Global NCAP.
Furas pointed to Tata and Mahindra as other domestic automakers that have achieved far superior safety standards for their vehicles. As part of the #SaferCarsForIndia project, other small cars like the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios and the Kia Seltos were also evaluated, and both did better than the S-Presso.
"There is no place for zero-rated cars in the Indian market," said David Ward, President of the Towards Zero Foundation. We wholeheartedly agree with this statement, especially considering global safety standards and the fact that many other small city cars have proven to be safe.