Global NCAP and the Automobile Association of South Africa have released the results of their fourth round of crash testing, this time rating SA-spec versions of the GWM Steed 5, Renault Kwid and Haval H1 for safety.

According to the safety authority, all three vehicles provided “poor levels of adult and child protection” in the standard 64 km/h frontal offset crash test, resulting in “serious cause for concern”. The Steed 5 bakkie failed to score a star for adult occupant safety, with Global NCAP saying it “demonstrated a high probability of life-threatening injury” in the crash.

GWM Steed 5: zero stars

The China-built Steed 5 that was tested was the “basic version” of the double-cab bakkie, without airbags. Driver dummy readings showed “poor” protection for the head and “weak” protection for the neck and chest. The structure, meanwhile, was rated as “unstable”, as was the footwell area.

Global NCAP said the deformation in the Steed 5’s passenger compartment and movement of the steering column “questions if an airbag would be able to prevent serious injuries to the driver”.

Since GWM opted not to recommend a child-restraint system for the test, zero points were awarded for the child occupant dynamic assessment score. The three-year-old dummy CRS broke during the impact due to the poor performance of the restraint system. Global NCAP notes the Steed 5 does not have IsoFix anchorages in the rear and lacks three-point belts in all seating positions.

Renault Kwid: two stars

The Indian-built facelifted Kwid offered in South Africa features two airbags as standard. Global NCAP says protection for the driver’s head was “adequate”, with the rating improving to “good” for the front passenger. Both necks benefited from “good” protection but the driver’s chest had to settle for “weak” protection.

Global NCAP says the “unstable” body structure, “unstable” footwell structure and pedal movement explain the two stars for adult occupant protection. Child occupant protection was rated “poor”, with the lack of three-point belts in all seating positions and lack of IsoFix points contributing to the two-star rating.

Haval H1: two stars

In South Africa, Haval’s entry-level H1 features two airbags as standard. The safety authority says the Chinese-built vehicle offered “good” protection to the driver and front passenger’s heads and necks. Driver chest protection was rated as “weak”, while passenger chest protection was “good”. Protection of the feet was “poor”, which together with the “unstable” structure and footwell area explains the two-star rating.

Global NCAP says child occupant protection was “negatively affected” by Haval’s refusal to indicate a child-restraint system for use in the test, bringing dynamic points to zero. The system selected by the safety authority used the standard IsoFix anchorages but both child dummy heads made contact with the car during the test, “threatening the safety of the child occupants”. Lack of proper IsoFix markings and the lack of a passenger airbag-disabling switch resulted in a two-star child occupant protection rating for the H1.

“Another zero-star rated bakkie gives us very serious cause for concern in our latest crash test results for Africa. The potential for life-threatening injury in the Steed 5 follows the zero-star performance of the Nissan Hardbody pick-up. The contrast between the marketing claims for such vehicles and the reality of their poor safety performance could not be more stark,” said Alejandro Furas, global NCAP secretary general.

Willem Groenewald, CEO of AA South Africa, said “these results are worrisome and cause for concern”, adding that since 2017 the organisation had “been calling for an improvement in the safety standards set by government”.

“These results again confirm the urgent need for this to happen; we simply cannot have unsafe cars on our roads anymore. We have spoken to the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards about standards and although the evidence is clear, we are eager to see movement in this regard. Action is needed, and needed now because it’s about protecting South African citizens,” said Groenewald.

Watch the three crash-test videos below...