Safest vans of 2022 revealed
Euro NCAP has revealed the 2022 list of the safest commercial vans available on the European market, based on an evaluation of crash avoidance system fitment and performance.
It says there has been a “slow but steady improvement” on last year’s results, with several vans being better equipped than they were a year ago, with systems that perform better than they did.
Popular vans have been put through their paces by Euro NCAP, such as the Mercedes-Benz Vito, Ford E-Transit, Opel Movano, Toyota Proace, Nissan Interstar, and Renault’s Master and Trafic. However, there was one standout according to Euro NCAP, with the Fiat Ducato becoming the first van to achieve the top platinum rating.
Last year, Euro NCAP drew attention to the poor level of fitment of safety equipment to commercial vans. As the workhorse of choice for couriers and small businesses, these vehicles spend a lot of time on the road where, because of their size and mass, they represent a larger hazard to smaller vehicles and vulnerable road users if they are involved in a collision.
New legislation will force van manufacturers to fit basic avoidance systems, already widely available on passenger cars, in a few years’ time. In the meantime, Euro NCAP’s commercial van ratings aim to encourage manufacturers to fit more advanced systems more quickly.
For this year’s test, Euro NCAP revisited 19 vans representing the lion’s share of commercial vans sold in Europe. Only one van assessed was rated as ‘Not Recommended’, as opposed to five last year.
While the Fiat Talento has been discontinued, the Opel/Vauxhall Movano is now built on a new Stellantis platform and gets a bronze medal.
The Renault Master has also gained a bronze medal this year, thanks to small but notable improvements to its speed and lane assistance systems.
Its twin, the Nissan Interstar (previously the NV400), also gets these improvements, however, for the time being, Euro NCAP says it still lacks an Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system and so remains in the ‘Not Recommended’ category.
The Renault Trafic has been re-engineered and its safety extensively improved since it was last tested. It now has a robust AEB car to car as an option and jumps to a silver medal ranking, making it one of the most markedly improved vehicles this year.
Euro NCAP says the new Fiat Ducato is the clear winner, claiming the top spot on this year’s list. Last year ranked bronze, the vehicle has had a major safety make-over and now features an advanced sensor set, offering AEB pedestrian and AEB cyclist.
The Ducato’s 88 per cent overall score sees it leapfrog the competition to become the first platinum-rated commercial van.
The other Stellantis vehicles with which the Ducato shares its platform – the Peugeot Boxer, Citroen Jumper and Opel Movano – did not get the same equipment upgrade and remain in lower medal positions than their Fiat counterpart.
Ireland’s most popular van based on sales in 2021, the Ford Transit Custom, ranked gold by Euro NCAP for its 63 per cent overall score. It finished fourth in the safety test, behind the Fiat Ducato (88%), and the Ford E-Transit (68%) and VW Transporter (65%) – both gold.
The inclusion of the E-Transit and Transit Custom make Ford the only manufacturer with gold-rated vans in the 1‑tonne, 2-tonne and EV segments.
Euro NCAP secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen, said: “We are seeing promising signs that commercial vans are being upgraded with more advanced safety systems, closing the gap between passenger car and commercial vehicle segment.
“In general, it looks as though manufacturers are starting to take the safety in this segment more seriously and, while there is a way to go, we are inspired by the improvements – some modest, some impressive – that we have seen in the last year.”