The Espace IV recently became the fourth Renault model to achieve a five-star rating in the latest Euro NCAP independent crash tests and did so by scoring a record 35,11 points out of 37. Check out the results.

The Espace IV recently became the fourth Renault model to achieve a five-star rating in the latest Euro NCAP independent crash tests and did so by scoring a record 35,11 points out of 37.

Five other cars, the BMW X5, Peugeot 807, Saab 9-5, Toyota Avensis and the Volvo XC90, also achieved the maximum rating this time.

If the Euro NCAP results are used as yardstick, Renault can now claim that the Espace IV is not only the safest MPV - but also passenger vehicle - to be independently crash tested. The MPV’s feat follows the Laguna II becoming the first vehicle to obtain the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests in 2001. Last year, the Mégane II became the first C-segment vehicle to obtain five stars.

The Phase 12 tests saw Euro NCAP award the Espace IV 15,11 out of 16 for frontal impact, 18/18 for side impact and it gained an extra two points thanks to the seatbelt reminder alarm. Even without the benefit of the two points for the seatbelt reminder, Espace IV and Laguna II both achieved the best ever crash test scores.

The Espace IV features a high-strength steel structure and the third-generation system for restraint and protection (SRP). Renault’s occupant protection system comprises airbags with inflation levels that adapt to impact severity, double pretensioners in the front seats to prevent occupants “submarining” under the safety belts and improved lower limb protection.

Crashworthiness results for executive cars, family cars, small family cars, super-minis, 4X4s, large MPVs, small MPV’s and roadsters were given in London last week.

All six “five star” Euro NCAP rated manufacturers - in this case Renault, BMW, Peugeot, Saab, Toyota and Volvo - met the requirements of Euro NCAP’s new seatbelt reminder protocol. Euro NCAP’s star rating is based on occupants being “buckled up” - thus seatbelt reminder systems are vitally important.

Also in the last round of tests, Laguna II regained the place it held until May 2003 as the “safest vehicle in its category”, totalling 34,11 out of 37 points thanks to recognition of its seatbelt reminder alarm, which has actually been a driver’s seat feature since July 2001.

In the latest tests pedestrian protection improved overall with VW’s Touran joining the MG TF as the second European designed and manufactured car to achieve a three-star rating.

Like the C3 a few months ago, the Citroën C3 Pluriel gained a four-star rating with 31 points. The Pluriel achieved the highest rating of all convertibles tested by EuroNCAP.

"This result proves that the design of the platform, shared by all the models in this vehicle family, meets the same high standards for all body configurations," says Derek Bromfield, chief executive of Citroën SA.

"The C3 Pluriel is a unique car with a host of configurations and heralds a new phase in modular vehicle design with its ability to morph at will into one of five configurations: saloon, panoramic saloon, cabriolet, spider and spider pick-up," Bromfield added.

“In January 2000 Euro NCAP introduced a fifth star to its rating system, some manufacturers felt achieving a five star score would be impossible, but today, 12 cars have gained five star status,” Max Mosley, Euro NCAP chairman and president of the FIA, said.

“Particular praise must be given to Renault. Not only was the Laguna the first car to achieve a five-star score, four of their models have now achieved five-star status (Espace, Laguna, Mégane, Vel Satis),” he added.

Summary of results:

Executive cars

Saab 9-5

Occupant protection: five stars

Pedestrian protection: Not tested to new protocol

Family cars

Toyota Avensis

Occupant protection: five stars

Pedestrian protection: one star

Honda Accord

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: two stars

Vauxhall/Opel Signum

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: one star

Small family cars

Peugeot 307CC

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: two stars

Superminis

Citroën C3 Pluriel

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: two stars

Nissan Micra

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: two stars

Renault Twingo

Occupant protection: three stars

Pedestrian protection: two stars

Large 4X4s

BMW X5

Occupant protection: five stars

Pedestrian protection: one star

Volvo XC90

Occupant Protection: five stars

Pedestrian Protection: two stars

Kia Sorento

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: one star

Large MPVs

Peugeot 807

Occupant protection: five stars

Pedestrian protection: one star

Renault Espace

Occupant protection: five stars

Pedestrian protection: four stars

Ka Carnival

Occupant Protection: two stars

Pedestrian Protection: one star

Small MPVs

Ford Fusion

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: two stars

VW Touran

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: three stars

Roadsters

MG TF

Occupant protection: four stars

Pedestrian protection: three stars.