The Renault Mégane, once a byword for safety in the segment, and one of the first cars to be awarded top marks by Euro NCAP, has scored a lowly three stars in the latest round of crash tests. The three-star rating means it scored the same as the Peugeot 301 and Citroen C-Elysee twins, which are cheap family cars produced for emerging markets.
The Mégane has not become an unsafe car however, instead falling foul of changes to the test itself. The car tested is a mere facelift of the one that has been with us since 2008 and actually scored well in adult and child protection, scoring 83 and 78 per cent respectively. Where the car fell down was in pedestrian safety - with the front edge of its bonnet coming in for particular criticism - and in its safety assist systems. The Mégane includes Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and seatbelt reminders as standard (both prerequisites of NCAP), but as the reminder for rear seatbelts uses text to inform the driver if they are undone and is not available in all languages it failed NCAP's assessment. The testing body says that when Renault introduces a compliant system (which it says it will) the car will be awarded four, rather than three, stars.
That four-star rating would put the Mégane on a par with the new Ford Tourneo Courier, which, like the Renault, scored well in adult and child protection (84 per cent on each), but also fell foul of the safety assist system scoring, as its speed limiter device is an optional extra rather than standard fitment. The Courier also does not offer a lane assist system, or autonomous braking, which did not go down well with the testers.
Both of these systems (and more) are offered on the Volkswagen Golf SV, which explains its five-star rating.
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