Thatcham Research has suggested UK car buyers choose only cars which have Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard or at least specify it as an option.
This follows Volvo’s recently redesigned XC60 winning the What Car? Safety Award at an event in London last night.
The independent Thatcham Research tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
The organisation said standard fitment of AEB on new cars sold in the UK has reached 61% but only only 7% of new Ford and 14% of new Vauxhall cars have it as standard. Both are top selling brands.
Safety Award judge and Thatcham director of research Matthew Avery said: “The XC60… is bursting at the seams with safety technology to avoid the crash happening at all. It is so far ahead of the game that its innovative cross traffic alert and turn across path systems are not yet a part of the Euro NCAP programme. Drivers can’t rely on manufacturers to deliver AEB on every new car just yet. Until that day comes car buyers should do their research and [make] safety a deal breaker.”
However, some of the items Avery mentioned are only available as part of a GBP1,500 ‘Intellisafe Pro’ option package and are not standard on the UK market XC60.
He added: “This car has always broken new ground. In 2008 the original XC60 was the first to be launched with standard fit AEB. Back then, it was a relatively basic system which functioned at low speeds, car to car. The AEB systems on the new XC60 can handle a full range of different driving speeds and environments and will also detect vulnerable road users and even large animals.”
Two other new vehicles were highly commended by the What Car? judges – the Volkswagen T-Roc and the Subaru XV.
Avery said: “The T-Roc is a safety standard bearer in the ever-growing small SUV segment. Its AEB systems come as standard and performed exceedingly well in Euro NCAP testing. It also comes with adaptive cruise control – a great comfort feature which helps drivers to keep a safe distance from the car in front – and a lane keep assist system to gently steer a drifting car back into lane, both standard.
“VW should be commended for the commitment to safety it has shown in 2017 – the Arteon [CC replacement] was also in the running for safest car of the year, the Polo is a Euro NCAP best in class winner and it became the first van manufacturer to commit to fitting AEB on all new vehicles.
“The Subaru XV was the other stand-out performer in 2017. It’s got a stereo camera-based AEB system, which is especially good at identifying pedestrians and cyclists, an effective blind spot indication system and a lane keep assist system – again, all fitted as standard to maximise their potential to reduce accident rates. Subaru is a smaller carmaker which has always found a way to prioritise safety, so it’s great to see those efforts commended.”
Thatcham said only three of the SMMT’s 10 best selling cars in 2017 had AEB as standard across all trims while the top selling Ford Fiesta only offers it as an option.
“Achieving a five-star Euro NCAP rating without standard fit AEB will be close to impossible for vehicle manufacturers from 2018 onwards,” said Avery.
“Many market AEB as an optional extra but with its potential to save so many lives it is far too important not to be fitted as standard. While killed or seriously injured (KSI) accidents affecting occupants are coming down, KSIs involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists are on the increase. Protecting people outside of the car, as well as those inside, is clearly important to our safety award finalists.”
“Standard-fitment of AEB is still not at the levels it should be. Jaguar Land Rover is the only carmaker among the top 10 best selling brands to fit AEB on all new models.”