The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), which rates cars based on how safe they are, has released its final safety ratings of the year, with the 2021 Renault Zoe performing the worst having been given zero stars. This is only the third time in history that the Euro NCAP has given a car a zero-star rating.
The Euro NCAP ratings cover the range from the best to worst that the car industry has to offer across vehicle categories.
Renault’s previous model was awarded a 5-star rating in 2013, but its 2021 version, despite having had a “facelift”, scored poorly.
A key factor contributing to the Zoe’s poor performance was that its older models had a seat-mounted airbag, which protected both head and thorax, however this has been replaced with a less effective thorax-only airbag. Removing the head airbag means occupants are no longer protected from side impacts.
Overall, the new Zoe scored poorly in crash protection, vulnerable road user protection and lacks meaningful crash avoidance technology, according to the Euro NCAP.
In response to the Zoe’s rating, Renault has released a statement.
“Renault takes note of the results published by Euro NCAP following specific tests on Zoe E-Tech Electric according to its new protocol implemented in 2020. First of all, Renault reaffirms that Zoe E-Tech Electric is a safe vehicle, which complies with all regulatory safety standards. These standards are constantly evolving and are becoming more stringent in all domains, especially in safety. Renault therefore continually improves its offer in order to comply with the regulations applicable where its vehicles are sold.”
Renault added: “Zoe was launched in 2013 and received five stars with Euro NCAP protocol at that time. The Euro NCAP protocol has since 2013 undergone five changes. With the same equipment, a model can lose up to two stars in each protocol change.”
Renault’s sub-brand Dacia, which launched its Dacia Spring this year, scored the second worst with a one-star rating.
The Euro NCAP says: “Its performance in crash tests is downright problematic, with a high risk of life-threatening injuries for driver chest and rear passenger head in frontal crash tests and marginal chest protection in side impact.”
Among 11 new models tested, seven achieved a top five-star rating. These were the BMW iX, the Genesis’ G70 and GV70, the Mercedes-EQ EQS, the Nissan Qashqai, the Škoda Fabia and the Volkswagen Caddy.
The 5-star winners range from premium electric cars to affordable superminis.
“These results once more make clear that safety is all about good engineering and less about the type of powertrain or price per se,” says Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP.
Two cars awarded a special mention were the Nissan Qashqai for safety assist and the luxury Mercedes EQS for adult and child occupant protection.
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