The India-made Maruti Suzuki Baleno has scored a three star rating at the recently conducted crash test by Euro NCAP. However, the variant with the safety pack (radar-based braking) scored four stars. The three star rating means, average to good occupant protection but lacking crash avoidance technology", according to Euro NCAP.
The tests conducted include front-offset deformable barrier test at 64kmph, Front full width rigid barrier test at 50kmph, Side mobile barrier test at 50kmph and the side pole test at 32kmph.
The agency observed that the passenger compartment of the Baleno remained stable in the front offset test. The dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and the femurs of both the driver and the passenger.In the front full-width rigid barrier test, the report stated that the protection offered to the driver was good, except for the chest area, for which protection was adequate. Dummy readings of chest compression showed marginal protection.
The car performed well in the side mobile barrier test too. The test replicates a scenario where the Baleno is T-boned by another vehicle in motion. The curtain airbags (not available with the Indian variant) offered good protection to both front and rear passengers.
However, in the side pole test, Euro NCAP noted that," Dummy readings of lateral rib compression indicated weak chest protection and the head protection was downgraded to adequate as a result of the incorrect airbag deployment."The front and rear head restraints offered good whiplash protection, in case of a rear-end collision.
The testing agency awarded four stars to the Baleno with safety pack since, it had an additional crash avoidance technology.
The findings of the crash test highlights the importance of airbags in a car. Back in 2014, the India-made Maruti Suzuki Swift failed miserably. It did not have airbags as standard and the structure was deemed unstable too. The Baleno, on the other hand, even with a lower kerb weight managed to perform much better. This in a way also validates the company's STECT (Suzuki Total Effective Control Technology) that uses lightweight, high tensile strength steel to construct the car's body. Maruti Suzuki offers the Baleno with ABS and dual airbags as standard across the range in India. The Baleno is currently produced onlyin India. The company recently began exporting the car to Japan, a first for Maruti-Suzuki.
The Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai Elite i20, meanwhile, continue to remain India's safest hatchbacks with a four star Euro NCAP rating.