A Chinese-made ute that was updated for New Zealand last year in a bid to improve its crash-safety rating in the popular workhorse segment has received the same lowly two-star result in its latest test.
Safety watchdog the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) gave the Great Wall Steed 4×2 ute 16.49 out of a possible 37 points, despite the addition of more airbags and electronic stability control.
ANCAP chief executive officer James Goodwin said that while Steed gets safety features not offered on the previous model, “there has been little change to the vehicle’s structure to improve the safety of the passenger cabin.”
ANCAP ruled that Steed “is not suitable for transporting children” due to an absence of anchorages for child restraints.
Great Wall last year introduced the 4×2 Steed as an all-new model, despite it being largely a face-lifted version of the V-series from 10 years ago. Its two-star rating matched the score the V240 model received in 2009.
In the frontal offset test at 64km/h, Steed scored 8.31 out of a possible 16 points. It received zero points for lower leg protection, ANCAP noting the separation of footwell panels and pedal displacement.
Parts of the dash could also potentially cause injury to both the driver and passenger, ruled ANCAP, while knee injuries to the driver were possible from the steering column.
ANCAP said in its technical report on Steed that it did not conduct a pole test or a pedestrian protection test “due to its poor performance in the frontal offset test”.
A Great Wall spokesman in Australia said the company was “taking immediate steps” to try and rectify the situation. “We thought the additional safety features would help improve the Steed’s ANCAP rating,” he said. “It’s clear to everyone in the organisation our ANCAP test standards need a dramatic improvement.”
ANCAP tested the dual-cab petrol version of the Steed, which uses a 2.4-litre petrol engine and is priced from NZ$26,990.
The Great Wall brand in NZ is part of Great Wall Motors Australia, a factory-backed subsidiary of the Chinese company. Great Wall was first distributed in NZ and Australia in 2009 by expat Kiwi businessman Neville Crichton’s company Ateco Automotive. But a dispute with the factory in 2013 ended Ateco’s role.