Euro NCAP toughens up van safety testing

Crash test safety body Euro NCAP has tightened up the criteria for its van safety ratings, with an increased focus on safety assistance technology


Crash test safety body Euro NCAP has decided to tighten up the criteria for its van safety ratings, now giving vans that come with less safety assistance technology than their competitors a harsher marking than before.

Unlike Euro NCAP’s car safety ratings, in which a car is given a score out of five, Euro NCAP commercial van assessments result in one of four ratings – ‘platinum’, ‘gold’, ‘silver’ and ‘bronze’. These vans are also given a separate safety technology score, which, among other factors, decides which rating the van is given.

The safety ratings of 18 different commercial vans have been re-assessed, and with safety assistance technology like collision warning assistance, speed limiters and lane keeping assistance carrying more weight in assessments than before, no model currently holds Euro NCAP’s best ‘platinum’ rating.

Gold ratings

Fiat Ducato

Safety tech score: 63%

Britain's best-selling LCVs 2022 – Ford Transit

Ford Transit

Safety tech score: 60%

The Fiat Ducato did hold a ‘platinium’ rating before the safety body tightened its assessment criteria, now demoted to a ‘gold’ rating. It sits alongside the Ford Transit, these models being regarded as the safest commercial vans currently on sale.

Silver ratings

Britain's best-selling LCVs 2022 – Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Safety tech score: 52%

Mercedes-Benz Vito

Safety tech score: 48%

Nissan Primastar

Safety tech score: 40%

Britain's best-selling LCVs 2022 – Renault Trafic

Renault Trafic

Safety tech score: 40%

Britain's best-selling LCVS 2022 – Volkswagen Crafter

Volkswagen Crafter

Safety tech score: 40%

Britain's best-selling LCVs 2022 – Volkswagen Transporter 6.1

Volkswagen Transporter

Safety tech score: 43%

This updated batch of safety ratings also sees the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter moved from the ‘gold’ to the ‘silver’ tier, alongside the similarly-sized Volkswagen Crafter. The Mercedes-Benz Vito currently holds the highest safety score of all of the medium-sized vans tested.

Bronze ratings

Citroën Dispatch

Safety tech score: 24%

Citroën Relay

Safety tech score: 20%

Iveco Daily

Safety tech score: 35%

Vauxhall Movano

Safety tech score: 22%

Britain's best-selling LCVs 2022 – Vauxhall Vivaro

Vauxhall Vivaro

Safety tech score: 30%

Britain's best-selling LCVs 2022 – Peugeot Expert

Peugeot Expert

Safety tech score: 31%

Peugeot Boxer

Safety tech score: 22%

Renault Master

Safety tech score: 25%

Toyota Proace

Safety tech score: 23%

The majority of LCV models have been awarded a ‘bronze’ rating, with larger vans in this category being given lower safety tech scores on average.

The final van to be tested, the Nissan Interstar, holds a safety tech score of 18%. Euro NCAP has decided to give this van the designation ‘not recommended’ as a result.

Of course, this batch of tested models does not include all of the LCV currently on sale. Euro NCAP says that assessments of the popular Ford Transit Custom and the all-electric LEVC VN5 are also coming soon.

Safety assistance tech features available on UK LCV models

Source: Euro NCAP Accurate as of March 2023

The Euro NCAP website features a breakdown of the safety assistance technology available with each model tested. While technology that monitors driver awareness and fatigue is standard across all of the vans tested, car-to-car collision warning software is usually an optional extra here in the UK.

Collision warning software that detects pedestrians and cyclists is also not even available for many of the models listed here, displaying that commercial vans are often not equipped with latest technology that is comes as standard in the passenger car market.

A department head of the only Euro NCAP testing centre in the UK, Thatcham Research chief research strategy officer Matthew Avery welcomed the stricter testing, adding that “this latest set of results demonstrates that manufacturers are responding positively and it’s of note that the UK’s most popular commercial van, the Ford Transit, secured a ‘gold’ rating.

“However, the fitment of crash avoidance technology seen on vans has some way to go before gaining parity with the high levels of standard fitment we enjoy on cars today.”

Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Van Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in van-buying need with independent and impartial advice.

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