28 Mar 24

Euro NCAP urges higher safety measures for small panel vans

Manufacturers of small panel vans should provide Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) beyond what the norms require, says vehicle testing organization Euro NCAP.  “By making customers pay for extra safety technology without promoting the benefits, safety technology becomes a bargaining tool”, says Dr. Aled Williams, the company’s programme director. 

For the first time, Euro NCAP has rated the crash avoidance capabilities of eight vans in the small panel van category. 

Gold and platinum

  • Good news for the Citroën Berlingo, the FIAT Doblo, the Opel/Vauxhall Combo, the Peugeot Partner, the Renault Kangoo and the VW Caddy Cargo van: they all received a Gold rating. 
  • Even better news for the Mercedes-Benz Citan and the VW ID.Buzz Cargo (pictured), who got the top Platinum rating.

Unlike its car safety rating, Euro NCAP’s commercial vehicle rating focuses on crash avoidance. This is because LCV crashes cause more casualties in the other vehicle, or among vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, bikers). 

These ratings are even more significant because they provide a snapshot before new ADAS rules come into effect on July 7th, under the EU’s General Safety Regulation (GSR).

Positive impact

Studies show ADAS has a direct and positive impact on the safety of drivers, other vehicles, and vulnerable road users. 

The ADAS that Euro NCAP expects to be included in vehicles are: advanced autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane support, speed assistance, and attention assist. 

Euro NCAP noticed that smaller panel vans are generally better equipped with ADAS due to their proximity in size and use to passenger cars. 

However, despite the good test results, there’s still further progress to be made, Euro NCAP says: “For example, the Citroën Berlingo and its twins performed particularly poorly in AEB cyclist protection.”

Lack of availability

“It is good news that these results are predominantly Gold and Platinum,” says Dr. Aled Williams. “However, Euro NCAP rated vans with equipment mostly fitted as ‘optional’. What was concerning was the lack of availability of vans equipped with these crash-avoidance technologies on the market.”

“Euro NCAP and its team struggled to source vans fitted with these options for the testing. Van manufacturers often offer safety technologies but rarely encourage buyers to specify this vital equipment that could save lives. By making customers pay for extra safety technology without promoting the benefits, safety technology becomes a bargaining tool.”

As per the GSR, manufacturers will need to ensure certain safety features become standards in new panel vans. However, Euro NCAP demands they go above and beyond the GSR targets: “Euro NCAP will continue to push for better safety when it launches the ADAS safety performance of larger vans in July.”

For more on LCVs, read this review of Fleet Europe's recent LCV Expert Day. 

Image: Alexander-93, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

Authored by: Frank Jacobs