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New car sales figures were released by the SMMT today which revealed a record six months for the new car market, but not all of the top 10 UK best-sellers offer some of the key safety components you may expect.
The majority of the most popular cars in Britain now offer five-star crash protection, but Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is still only available on half of them and only one has the crucial crash prevention technology on every model and trim level in its range.
AEB is a device that monitors the road ahead using sensor and camera technology, and it has been shown to reduce low-speed crashes by up to 40 per cent. The device works by automatically brakes to avoid a collision with another car or pedestrian, if the driver hasn’t responded.
The Mercedes C-Class has AEB as standard across its entire range, whilst the Volkswagen Golf and the Nissan Qashqai also have commendable levels of standard fitment and optional availability on most other trim levels. In comparison, the Vauxhall Corsa, which is the UK’s second best-selling car, is not available with AEB at all, and the Ford Fiesta, which is the UK’s best-selling car, only offers AEB as an optional extra on just over half its model range.
City cars and superminis are a popular choice of car for new inexperienced drivers who, according to an ABI report from October 2012, are 26 times more likely to be involved in a crash. Therefore, it is imperative that size and price does not impend AEB fitment. Honda has already shown that standard fit AEB is achievable, with the new Jazz demonstrating AEB right across its range. Ford and Vauxhall should both be targeting a similar level of fitment on all future versions of their superminis in order to stay at the forefront.
Peter Shaw from Thatcham Research, is keen for car makers to embrace the highest levels of active safety technology, he said; “Vehicle manufacturers could choose to publicly commit to making AEB standard by 2022 on all new cars sold in the UK. Twenty of the best-known car brands have already done exactly that in the United States and we’d welcome the same commitment in the UK.”
Car buyers with their heart set on a car where standard fit AEB is unattainable are encouraged to explore optional safety packs that include AEB, alongside other valuable safety features. Thatcham Research has produced a fully searchable, online fitment guide that provides the AEB system name and availability www.thatcham.org/aeb-fitment
Below is a breakdown of the UK’s Most Popular Cars Ranked by AEB Safety. Vehicles are ranked according to the percentage of trim levels within that model range having AEB as standard, followed by optional availability rates.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class – AEB system name: Collision Prevention Assist Plus. Fitted as standard
Volkswagen Golf – AEB system name: Front Assist Including City Emergency Braking. Fitted as standard to 83% of trim levels within model range. Not available as an optional extra.
Nissan Qashqai – AEB System name: Forward Emergency Braking. Fitted as standard to 71% of trim levels within model range. Available as part of the optional ‘Safety Shield’ safety pack for £495
Ford Focus – AEB System name: Active City Stop. Fitted as standard to 37% of trim levels within model range. Available as a stand-alone option for £200
Vauxhall Astra – AEB system name: Forward Collision Alert with Automatic City Emergency Braking. Fitted as standard to 34% of trim levels within model range. Available as part of the optional ‘Driving Assistance’ pack, priced £565 – £795
MINI – AEB system name: Driving Assistant. Available as part of the optional ‘Driving Assistant’ pack for £440
Volkswagen Polo – AEB system name: City Emergency Braking. Available as part of the optional ‘ACC’ pack for £395
Ford Fiesta – AEB system name: Active City Stop. Available as a stand-alone option for £200
Vauxhall Mokka – No AEB system available
Vauxhall Corsa – No AEB system available