Last month, we told you how the Chevrolet Enjoy scored zero stars in the Global NCAP crash test for weak body shell integrity and poor protection to the driver's head and chest. And now it is the Renault Duster that is facing the heat of the same. According to the latest crash tests conducted by the UK-based body governing safety standards of automobiles, the Renault Duster has scored zero stars. This particular variant is the basic version without airbags.
Renault Duster without driver side airbags
Renault does not offer airbags as standard in the Duster SUV sold in India. The SUV scored poorly in adult occupant protection. The test results state that due to the lack of airbags, the driver injuries would have been unacceptably high. However, the Duster scored two stars for rear-seat child occupant protection. After the results were shared with the company, Renault insisted that GNCAP conducts the test on the variant with a single driver airbag. The adult occupant protection increased to three scores for this variant. However, the rear child protection continued to score two stars. Back in 2015, a single airbag version of the Renault Duster had scored four stars in adult occupant protection in the Latin NCAP tests. And the reason is that the Duster made in Columbia gets a bigger airbag compared to the one sold in the Indian market.
The 2017 Renault Duster with driver airbags
The tests explain that the head of the driver did not contact the airbag in the centre as it should, exposing the head to impact on the steering wheel and therefore offering more risk of injuries. The head reached maximum front excursion and compressed the airbag. The larger airbag of the Latin American Duster covered the head and chest of the driver. With the head in maximum forward excursion, the airbag still shows containment to the head protecting it from the steering wheel.
"It is troubling that during the UN Road Safety Week, we yet again encounter a zero-star car in our crash testing in India. Renault produces the Duster in a number of markets and yet it seems content to provide a version for India which falls so far short on safety," said David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP. He further added, "The version of the Duster with an airbag scores three stars, but this too fell short as it was fitted with a smaller airbag. A model with a correctly sized airbag should be provided as standard."
In its response, Renault India has issued the following statement, ""Safety is of paramount importance for Renault and all our products meet and exceed the requisite safety standards set by Indian Regulatory Authorities. India is gradually moving towards international safety norms by including more robust safety regulations and the assurance of the Bharat NCAP is a positive step in this direction. As a customer-focused company, Renault fully supports this initiative and we are already future-ready in terms of technology, design and engineering for enhanced safety for all our vehicles. Indian Government has announced that the crash test regulation for the existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for the new cars in 2017. Renault fully supports this."
Last year, the Renault Kwid had received flak as the hatchback too had received zero stars in the Global NCAP crash tests. However, the hatchback earned one star for adult occupant protection when the driver-side airbag model was tested by the crash test agency.