Mitsubishi’s newly updated Express van has been handed down the worst safety rating ever given to a car by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) in its 28 years as an independent safety advocate.
In a statement, ANCAP describes the physical crash performance of the Express as “marginal in areas”, with “notable risk of serious injury to the chest of the driver in three of the four destructive crash tests”.
It notes that the Express was given additional penalties for “hard knee contact points” for the driver in frontal crashes, and for the way the side cargo door deformed in side-impact and pole crash tests — “creating openings through which partial ejection may be possible”.
ANCAP also criticised the lack of a front airbag for centre passengers, the lack of a chest-protecting side airbag on the passenger side, and the likelihood of whiplash-based injuries due to the bench-seat’s design.
All up, ANCAP rated the Express at 55 per cent for adult occupant protection, 40 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and just 7 per cent for safety assist. The latter stems from the lack of active safety tech fitted to the model, including no autonomous emergency braking and no lane support system (a la Toyota’s ‘Lane Centering’ tech).
“Mitsubishi recently introduced the Express into our market, but its specifications do not align with today’s safety expectations,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, Carla Hoorweg. “Unfortunately we saw below par performance for protection of occupants and vulnerable road users from the Express, with results lowered even further due to a fundamental lack of active safety systems.
“The Express’ poor result sends a clear signal to manufacturers and their global parent companies that safety must be prioritised in all segments offered to the Australasian market.
“Safety rating criteria and consumer expectations have evolved, as have manufacturers’ desire and ability to introduce improved levels of safety. We know Mitsubishi can deliver vehicles with high levels of overall safety and a wide range of modern safety technologies and we encourage them to accelerate the introduction of these features into their van product.”
The announcement eclipses ANCAP’s numerous one-star safety rated cars from past years for the dubious honour of worst-rated vehicle. Previous one-star vehicles include the Proton Jumbuck, Jeep Wrangler, and the previous Express. The Great Wall Steed and Ford Mustang are one rung higher, having previously recorded two-star ratings.