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Afternoon round-up: Sub-par NCAP results, call for winter driver safety, XC60 for hire


Poor show for latest NCAP crash tests

Euro NCAP has published the crash test results of 15 all-new or updated cars, 10 of which achieved less than the top five-star rating.

The Hyundai Kona (pictured), Kia Stinger, BMW 6 Series, Jaguar F-Pace (all of brand new models) Toyota Yaris (facelifted) received five stars. Hyundai Kona 2017

All-new models that received three stars were the MG ZS, the Dacia Duster 2 and the Kia Stonic, though the latter achieved five stars when fitted with optional safety equipment.

Models that previously held a five-star rating but dropped to three stars following a test of the facelited version comprise the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the Ford C-Max and Grand C-Max, the DS3, the Opel Karl and the Toyota Aygo, though the latter increased to four stars when fitted with safety options.

The Fiat Punto, which originally went on sale in 2005, received zero stars – the only car ever to do so.

“We have seen a lot of good cars in 2017, able to meet Euro NCAP’s 5-star requirements [but] the fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards. Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind, as these results clearly show.”

Referring to the Fiat Punto, he added: “This is perhaps the strongest example of a manufacturer continuing to sell a product that is well past its best-before date, at the expense of the unsuspecting car buyer.

“We would urge consumers to check our website for the latest ratings and to choose cars with the most up-to-date five-star ratings, many examples of which we have seen in 2017.”

AA: prioritise driver safety in winter

The AA has called for fleets to make driver safety a priority during winter, following its busiest day of the of year on Monday, when it recorded 24,000 call-outs.

Stuart Thomas, director of fleet and SME services, said: “With company car drivers 49% more likely to be involved in an accident than ordinary drivers, even in normal weather conditions, we urge fleet managers and business owners to prioritise the safety of their drivers during this cold spell via the following actions:

“Assess if your fleet needs to be on the road in the first place during this chilly and potentially dangerous time; consider rescheduling any long journeys to the areas most affected by colder weather, such as the north of the UK and Scotland, until after Christmas; take the opportunity to recirculate your fleet health and safety road policy if you have one; if you don’t have one, make sure drivers know what actions they need to take if they are unable to get into work; urge drivers to carry emergency provisions with them, including chocolate bars, water, a torch and a shovel in case they break down in the snowy conditions.”

Meridian offers Volvo XC60 for hire

Meridian is now offering the Volvo XC60 SUV for hire, claiming it is among the first medium-term rental specialists to do so.

T5 and diesel D4 R-Design trim levels are available on leases from three to 12 months, starting at around £350 per month excluding VAT on a 1,000 mile per month basis. Phil Jerome, managing director, Meridian Vehicle Solutions

“Fleets and their drivers are clearly very keen on SUVs at the moment and the first generation XC60 was a very popular option for us thanks to its strong image, high levels of equipment and good economy,” said managing director, Phil Jerome (pictured).

“The new model builds on those attributes and we expect it to be even more successful. It fits well into our portfolio, where we offer a small but carefully chosen selection of models that offer considerable appeal for company car drivers and strong pricing for fleets.

“Also, our pricing structure for the XC60 fits into our strategy with medium term leasing of pricing slightly above traditional contract hire but well below daily rental.”