he Dacia Sandero Stepway has been given a two-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, with the head of the organisation labelling the car’s limited autonomous emergency braking system “disappointing”.
The two-star score for the high-riding version of budget brand Dacia’s hatchback was matched by the firm's Logan saloon in the latest round of testing conducted by the Euro NCAP safety body. The electric Volkswagen ID 4 and Skoda Enyaq IV, along with the new plug-in hybrid version of the Cupra Formentor, were all awarded the maximum score of five stars.
The Sandero Stepway was rated at two stars out of five for its advanced driver assistance systems, scoring 42 per cent for safety assistance systems and 41 per cent for vulnerable road user protection. Euro NCAP highlighed the limitations of the Sandero's radar-only automatic emergency braking system, saying the system – which will soon be a legal requirement – can only react to other vehicles and lacks both lane support and the ability to help prevent crashes with pedestrians or cyclists.
Euro NCAP’s scoring system ensures that a car’s total mark can only be as high as its lowest rating. The Sandero Stepway scored 70 per cent for aduly occupant protection and 72 per cent for child occupant protection, a result that Euro NCAP noted “would make the car a four-star performer if it were not for its shortcomings elsewhere”.
Euro NCAP overhauled its testing criteria last year with extra focus on active safety technology, including automatic emergency braking. As a result, Euro NCAP has cautioned against directly comparing the ratings of cars tested under the new system with the previous, theoretically easier, method.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s secretary-general, said: “Safety has moved on, and the biggest strides forward are now being made by using high-tech to prevent accidents from happening.
“Clearly, Dacia have found their market and they’re sticking to it, but a two-star rating shows little ambition, even for a low-cost product. Their decision not to offer a camera clearly is out of step with the market and disappointing as Dacia are aware that their cars will soon have to comply with the new General Safety Regulation.”
In a statement, Dacia said: “At Dacia, the safety of our customers is of the utmost importance. We continue to improve the safety of our cars year on year and, as a result, each generation of vehicle is safer than the previous one.
“Our efforts on passive safety have been recognised by Euro NCAP, achieving four stars in occupant protection for both adults and children, and very good performance in pedestrian impact. In terms of active safety, which Euro NCAP has become increasingly stringent on, we have chosen to fit equipment with the greatest value for the customer, with AEBS standard across the range and Blind Spot Warning available on the top-spec Stepway.
“The all-new Sandero and Sandero Stepway are safe and protect occupants to a high standard. However, we will take these results into account while continuing to strike the perfect balance of safety, customer expectations and affordability.”
The Volkswagen ID 4 and Skoda Enyaq SUVs, which are both built on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric architecture, achieved the maximum five scores, particularly earning praise for their high levels of adult occupant protection.
The two cars each scored more than 90% in that category, thanks to robust structures offering protection to both occupants and the high-voltage battery, along with frontal, curtain and centre airbags as standard. The two machines also scored highly for child occupant protection and child occupant protection.
The Formentor has already been tested and achieved a five-star score. The new plug-in hybrid version was tested in the latest round of assessments, and maintains the same rating.