The Automobile Association has released the results of its 2020 entry-level vehicle safety report, rating 27 of South Africa’s least expensive cars and bakkies.

According to the AA, the inclusion of some safety features on entry-level vehicles “remains low” in South Africa, although “some positive developments in this regard have happened”.

Take note the 2020 report follows the same “desktop research methodology” as the AA has used in previous years, with the only difference here being that the value of vehicles assessed has been raised to R200 000. That means the report does not consider a given vehicle’s structural integrity.

The AA says the 27 vehicles surveyed for 2020 were evaluated under active safety features (ABS and electronic stability control) and passive safety features (airbags). Points were awarded to vehicles for the presence of each, with additional points handed to vehicles crash-tested under the Global NCAP system.

The vehicles were then categorised into three groups based on their safety scores: “acceptable” (50 points and above), “moderate” (between 20 and 50) and “poor” safety (20 or below).

Interestingly, 26 of the 27 vehicles assessed were equipped with ABS, with the same number shipping standard with front driver and passenger airbags. The AA says the least common safety feature was curtain airbags (employed by just one vehicle, the Peugeot 108) and side airbags (in only three vehicles).

In 2020, five vehicles were handed a “poor” safety rating, with 14 falling in the “moderate” safety category. Just eight vehicles were awarded an “acceptable” rating.

The Peugeot 108 ended with the highest score (110 out of a possible 135). The lowest scoring vehicles were the GWM Steed 5 single-cab 2,2 MPI 4x2 Workhorse F/L; Changan Star III Mini Van 5 Seats STD; Mahindra Bolero single-cab Maxi Truck; Suzuki Super Carry; and Changan Star III SC STD, each ending on zero points. 

While the Datsun Go+ Mid landed up in the “acceptable” safety range with 55 points, the AA pointed out it scored just one star in its Global NCAP crash test in 2018.

“A significant finding of this year’s report is that only three of the vehicles are equipped with electronic stability control. This is particularly concerning as ESC is a proven technology which can reduce road crashes. It’s astonishing and discouraging that so few vehicles come equipped with this technology as standard for entry-level vehicles,” the AA noted.

The Association went on to repeat its call for government to “urgently review current minimum standards, which are simply not good enough”. The AA furthermore said it would “press for the mandatory inclusion of these technologies in all vehicles, including those at the entry-level”.

Check out the results below...