As 2015 approaches, dozens of manufacturers are eagerly waiting for the start of the new year to release their next generation of models.
While some of 2015's vehicles might not be on sale yet, they are under the microscope of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). The crash-test authority has carried out trials on more than 500 vehicle models over the past 20 years to gauge how safe they are for the Australian public.
ANCAP have recently released their latest results on the Subaru Outback and Subaru Liberty which both go on sale in January. It is pleasing for Australian consumers that both vehicles scored the maximum five star safety rating and display the top level safety that Australians have come to expect in recent years.
What areas did the vehicles perform well in?
ANCAP revealed that both vehicles score well in all areas of the physical crash test assessment. This was in part thanks to the dual frontal, knee, side chest and head-protecting (curtain) airbags.
This is quite a special achievement for Subaru, as the Japanese manufacturer has the full board of five star safety ratings since the first model was tested in 2007.
ANCAP Chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said this is outstanding considering how tough ANCAP standards are now.
"This is particularly encouraging given both of these new models have been assessed against ANCAP's more stringent 2015 requirements," he said in a December 11 media statement.
What safety technology does Subaru include?
Although both vehicles meet ANCAP's strict requirements for safety assistance technology, the authority is concerned about one feature.
EyeSight is Subaru's landmark driver assist system that uses cameras to monitor the road ahead and response to potentially dangerous driving situations. Thanks to the cameras positioned on the front windscreen, the driver will receive audible and visual warnings telling them that a hazard is approaching. The feature is also able to apply the vehicle's brakes when necessary.
However, for all the benefits EyeSight provides, only the Liberty variants features it as standard. The system is optional on the Outlook models.
ANCAP also highlighted that the models available in Australia don't feature daytime running lights and tyre pressure systems as standards. Models sold overseas are fitted with these features as standard.
Mr McIntosh welcomed the technology improvements, but questioned why Australian consumers aren't getting the same vehicles as their overseas counterparts.
"It is good to see safety assist technologies becoming increasingly available, but ANCAP encourages Subaru, and all other manufacturers, to include these technologies as standard in all models and all markets," he said.
"We know Australians value safety very highly so the same safety features should be included as standard in all countries in which the cars are sold."
What standards were the Subaru's tested under?
As reported in a previous article, ANCAP has tightened its safety standards and policies again in 2015. The crash-test authority is also aligning its tests, protocols and calculations with its European counterpart - Euro NCAP - in an attempt to be across all new technology coming into the country.
ANCAP already shares information with Euro NCAP with figures not available in Australia featured on its website.
What do these ratings mean for Australian motorists?
As we draw closer to the end of the year, we are getting to the period where a number of consumers decide to invest in a vehicle. As well as sorting important information such as CTP green slip, registration and licencing, it will be vital for consumers to check out the ANCAP ratings.
New vehicles will be under much more scrutiny by the authority so consumers will get a good idea of which new cars should be on the top of their wishlist.