Pacclaimed by buyers who love the price-performance ratio, the Dacias shine more in the rankings of best sellers than in that of safety levels. Surprising from a brand located in the bosom of Renault which for several decades has been one of the champions of research on life support systems. Only, there you go, security yesterday was more the result of deformable cells, shock absorbers, seat belts and possibly – but at what cost? – airbags.
Today, the European organization Euro Ncap, which has been striving for years to project new cars into walls to test their real resistance, has changed gear. It has made the electronic fairy a cardinal value in occupant protection. However, these very expensive systems for all the models are too expensive for low cost companies who are primarily interested in the displacement function. And consider that the mission of keeping a car in its lane without crossing the shore lines or maintaining a safety gap is still within the reach of a human with a brain and a driver’s license.
This is no longer the opinion of Euro Ncap which, with the consent of many governments, believes that electronics should replace the driver. Since it cannot be trusted, the sensors, radars and other software erect a security perimeter around the vehicle which reacts as soon as a foreign body or situation enters this virtual protection bubble. But these sophisticated electronic trinkets, for example by transforming a front cover into a comforter to cushion the shock with a pedestrian or a cyclist who would come and throw themselves into it, cost a fortune.
Euro Ncap stars are falling
Dacia has decided to ignore this equipment, returning to the driver all the missions incumbent on him. The prices suddenly fall dramatically, incidentally the weight and size of these devices, but Euro Ncap watches and sanctions. Thus, the Dacia Jogger which we liked so much is credited with a pitiful note of one star, in the same way as the Logan MCV and the small electric Spring.
The Dacia Sandero does little better with two stars on a rating grid up to five stars. Euro Ncap even considered raising the overall rating to six stars in order to anticipate the voluminous catalog of new security systems on which the equipment manufacturers are working… provided that they obtain the necessary semiconductors.
It’s a good way for manufacturers to increase the price of a vehicle by making the buyer feel guilty. Worse, the motorist is made to pay for the safety of others, admittedly more fragile, who might come into contact with the car. Euro Ncap thus awards a score of 70% to the Jogger for the protection of occupants but only 41% for other vulnerable users. And 39% for active driving assistance systems, notoriously insufficient according to Euro Ncap criteria.
There was a time when Renault discreetly completely overhauled the structure of the Twingo halfway through its career in order to precisely raise its rating in a more severe Euro Ncap rating. Today it seems that Renault is more realistic with the increasing safety requirements depending on the selling price and the standing of the vehicle sold, but not always. Thus, a Renault ZOE which is not a low cost, weighed down by the price of its batteries, won no stars in 2021 having largely ignored the driver assistance systems.