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Car Safety Ratings – have things got out of hand?

Car Safety Ratings – have things got out of hand?

25 May 2022 Concept Car

Car safety ratings have gone over the top! That’s not just a solitary emotional outburst. It’s the almost unanimous response of most UK drivers to the drama currently developing around the Dacia Jogger’s recent safety rating.

What, exactly, happened?

Crash test body Euro NCAP recently tested the Dacia Jogger. The result? Zero points and a whopping slap in the Romanian manufacturer’s face.

So does this mean you should never take a seat in this stylish seven seater?

Honestly, we don’t really see a reason why you shouldn’t.

Don’t get us wrong – Dacias are hardly the safest vehicles on the road.

Sure, Dacia has gained considerably in prestige and many even consider the make “cool” in its own way.

But make no mistake: As nice as these image gains may be, Dacia’s top priority is still cutting costs. With Skoda and Seat no longer as cheap as they once used to be, it has pretty much monopolised the lower end of the car market.

For years, Dacia has created the cheapest cars on the UK market and this status is precisely what its fans love about the brand: A no nonsense car which does away with all unnecessary extras.

With this in mind, you would expect their models not to get full points at safety tests. And yet, something’s off here – zero points essentially suggest a car that’s dangerous to yourself and other drivers.

Find out more:
Used Dacia Duster: How to Pick the Right One!

How did Dacia get such a bad rating?

When you think of safety ratings, we all usually have specific images in our head. Mostly of cars crashing into a wall and dummies being propelled forward in their seat.

But the crash part of the analysis is only one element making up the final car safety rating. There are others, many of which you may not even have considered before.

To arrive at the star rating, Euro NCAP adds up the weighted individual scores and then calculates an average.

In this particular case, one particular issue with the Jogger caused the model to drop down from a still acceptable two star rating to a full monty.

Find out more:
How do Euro NCAP car safety ratings work?

What was this issue that was so horrible that it made the Jogger unsafe?

The fact that it does not have a set belt reminder for passenger seats in the third row.

Yes, you heard right. The fact that Dacia did not include this one feature led Euro NCAP to not even award it a single star.

This inevitably leads to an important question: Does the lack of the reminder feature reflect badly on Dacia? Or does it point in a different direction: Might it be possible that it indicates that, conversely, car safety ratings have become too self-important for their own good?

In this case, the facts seem to indicate the latter rather than the former.

First off, we completely support car safety ratings!

When it comes to cars, independent safety ratings are one of the most important innovations of the modern age.

That may sound like a bold statement. But think about it: Prior to Euro NCAP, manufacturers had desperately little incentive to innovate car safety. In the absence of measurable qualities, determining whether or not a model was reliable and safe was pretty much a task for the marketing department.

Since safety ratings become a “thing” and were widely published in the media, this has changed completely.

Since the introduction of these ratings, the rate of innovation has sped up. In fact, offering the latest and best safety technology has become a vital ingredient in terms of differentiating one brand from another.

Today, it is no exaggeration to claim that the fight for the hearts of consumers is decided to a large degree through safety ratings.

Here’s the thing, though:

The Dacia Jogger is not really an unsafe car.

Seat belt reminders are obviously a sensible thing. But honestly, when was the last time you forgot to put on your seat belt? Among the many useful new gadgets, this is probably one of the more forgettable ones.

In many respects, reminders have long served their purpose. When they were first introduced, many still considered wearing a belt as over rated and you’d get all kinds of reasons why they were supposedly even dangerous in certain situations.

Today, that discussion seems over and done with. Everyone agrees that wearing a seat belt is the only right thing to do. And putting it on has become an entirely routine affair.

Now, admittedly, the reminder can be helpful if you have kids and want to make absolutely sure they’ve put their belts on.

Still, think about it:

Does the Dacia really need to get downgraded to zero points for this?

A zero star rating would essentially mean that this is a useless and even dangerous vehicle.

We do understand Euro NCAP’s motivation for going down the road of severity. After all, what motivation do maufacturers have for including all essential safety features if they can simply make up for complete failures with decent scores in other departments?

Still, the way this score came together seems slightly over the top.

As long as consumers are aware of the lack of certain features – and Dacia has been very upfront about this – then they can take responsive measures.

In some cases, this may be too hard or impossible. But when it comes to seat belt reminders, we feel it’s questionable whether theses should drag the score down as much as a failed crash test.

So how did Dacia respond?

In an age, where negative test scores can lead to online retaliation and criticism, the response of most drivers to the negative test was remarkably composed.

Many, in fact, defended Dacia. Mainly because the company issued a statement right after the rating’s publication which explained why it had decided not to include a seat belt reminder in the Jogger.

Said the firm’s vice-president of product performance, Lionel Jaillet:

“In the seven-seat variant we wanted the third row of seats to be removable and we intentionally did not put a seatbelt reminder on those seats, because when you extract them then you need to disconnect and subsequently reconnect electronics. It becomes expensive. We are losing a few per cent on the score but as this is the box that defines the overall rating, it is one star; if the five-seat Jogger [not offered in the UK] had its own rating, it would be the same as the Sandero Stepway, which gets two stars.”

So what’s the conclusion from all this?

Can you still trust a zero star Dacia?

For most people, Dacias are still a great choice. If you do have children, you should probably consider whether the absence of this particular technology could be an issue.

For anyone else, it would seem as though there is no reason to avoid the Romanian champion of the cheap car.

If you’re looking for a Dacia, you’ve come to the right place.

At Concept Car Credit, we not only offer you excellent prices for used Dacias in perfect condition. We also offer financing even for those who have been rejected elsewhere.

Do you have a bad credit rating? Don’t worry, that’s usually not a problem. Just as with car safety ratings, they’re not useless. But it’s always important to look behind the numbers to find out what they really mean.

25 May 2022 Concept Car