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ANCAP’s latest high-scoring test subjects reveal Australian market shortcomings

The new Suzuki Vitara and Kia Optima have scored five stars in the latest ANCAP crash testing.

Until now, the Vitara and Optima were the highest-selling unrated vehicles in Australia. While both have nabbed a five-star rating from the independent crash test program, there are criticisms of both not receiving the same levels of equipment as European-spec equivalents.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane support, adaptive cruise control and other more passive collision prevention systems including blind-spot monitoring are optional on European variants of the Vitara. The Kia Optima on the other hand does come with those functions (blind spot detection and lane change assist on GT variant only), plus rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning (LDWS), emergency stop signal, following distance warning and AEB, giving it a score of 9.63 out of 13 for crash avoidance. However active speed assistance is lacking on Australian variants that is present in European markets.

James Goodwin, ANCAP CEO said this lack of priority for maximum consumer safety is disappointing.

“Manufacturers are constantly referring to the ‘global marketplace’ and ‘global vehicle platforms’. Yet when it comes to providing the latest and safest technology, the Australasian marketplace and its consumers do not always receive the best features available globally.”

With virtually every manufacturer now offering some form of semi-autonomous safety assist technology in their model range, Suzuki’s newest arrival into Australia, even the top-spec 4WD Vitara S Turbo at $32,990 (plus on road costs) does not receive these safety features while the base model Optima at $34,490 gets LDWS and AEB. The Vitara was praised for having rear collision avoidance and manually adjustable speed limiter.

“We want to see manufacturers keeping consumers as safe as possible in their new cars, not just meeting a market price point,” Goodwin said.

PHOTO - Kia Optima (Nov2015-onwards) frontal offset with logo PHOTO - Suzuki Vitara (2015-onwards) frontal offset B

Overall the Suzuki Vitara earned 35.79 out of 37. The Kia Optima was tested under EuroNCAP protocols which tend to be more in-depth in scoring evaluation, scoring 88% (33..47 out of 38) for adult occupant protection, 74% (9.63 out of 13) for safety assist and 67% (24.29 out of 36) for pedestrian protection. The testing of both models brings the ANCAP market coverage to 93%

ANCAP will move to align with EuroNCAP testing protocols as of 2018.

View the full crash testing reports on Suzuki Vitara and Kia Optima, as well as checking hundreds of vehicle ratings at

PHOTO - Kia Optima (Nov2015-onwards) AEB with logo