Snapshot – In India, car crash test safety norms are in their infancy and it will not be before 2017 when a new framework for car safety standards will be in place. On the other hand, Europe is the world leader in enforcing car safety standards and cars sold in the European Union have to adhere to stringent safety tests to prove their crash worthiness. The top five safest cars in the world have just been crowned and two cars from this list are relevant as far as the Indian car market is concerned. Let’s take a quick look at the toppers.
Skoda Fabia Hatchback
In the hatchback category, the Skoda Fabia hatchback has bagged top honours a five star safety rating. While Skoda has discontinued the car in India, it sells the latest, third generation model in Europe. The new car was unveiled last year and has gone on sale in that part of the world. The Czech automaker does not have plans of launching the hatchback in India, following poor sales of its predecessor. The car is sold with both petrol and diesel engines in Europe, and will also receive a station wagon variant.
Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan
Another car that will not see an Indian future anytime in the next couple of years is the Golf, which is in its 7th generation currently. Sold in multiple body styles, the Sportsvan variant of the car, which is an MPV meant to combine versatility and the traditional compact nature of the hatchback, has topped the MPV segment in Europe for 2014, becoming the safest class in its class with a 5 star Euro NCAP rating. Once the Indian car market matures to an extent that encourages the sale of premium hatchbacks, Volkswagen may consider bringing the Golf hatchback here.
Nissan Qashqai Crossover
The Nissan Qashqai is a crossover that the Japanese automaker is said to be contemplating for an Indian launch. However, a firm decision on this front is yet to be taken. The latest, and second generation of the crossover was launched in Europe last year, and a bevy of safety features in tow has meant that the Qashqai has promptly gone on to top its segment with a five star Euro NCAP rating. The new Qashqai is based on the common module family (CMF) architecture, whose other SUV, the X-Trail, is due for an India launch soon.
Mercedes Benz C-Class Sedan
The W205 Mercedes Benz C-Class sedan, in its 4th generation globally, is already sold in India. The car was launched late last year in petrol-only form. The diesel powered version, read the volumes spinning variant, is expected to be launched soon. Since the car is a Mercedes Benz out and out, safety is never a compromise, and so indicates the 5 star rating. The C-Class has topped its segment. Lighter than its predecessor, the new C-Class uses a mix of high strength steel and aluminium to ensconce its passengers in a secure compartment.
Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV
The Freelander2’s replacement will be in India later this year. The Euro NCAP car crash safety testing organization has already put this luxury SUV through its paces, and has awarded it with a five star rating. The SUV has topped its segment, whose other players include the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5. The Discovery Sport will be launched here in August and will be assembled at Land Rover’s Chikhali factory near Pune. The SUV will be equipped with a monocoque chassis capable of hosting 7 passengers.