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Euro NCAP finds quadricycles had “severe safety problems”

Wed, 04 Jun 2014

Euro NCAP has branched out from cars and crash tested a small selection of “heavy quadricycles”  – small, four-wheeled vehicles that were originally developed from motorcycles that are sometimes also known as microcars, and don’t come under the usual car regulations.

Although legal for use on the road, these machines do not need to achieve the same rigorous crash test safety standards as ordinary cars. But they are increasingly seen as a fuel-efficient urban transportation alternative, and some of them can be driven teenagers as young as 16.

The all-electric Renault Twizy is a very modern example of the breed, and is one of four quadricycles chosen by Euro NCAP for crash test analysis – the others being the Tazzari Zero, the Ligier IXO JS Line and the Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV, which is little more than a golf cart.

Although it resisted carrying out its usual car crash tests, Euro NCAP still subjected the quadricycles to 31mph front and side impact testing.

It found that all four showed “severe safety problems” – including “serious risks of life threatening injuries” in some cases.

Please click through our gallery above to see all the pictures.


Euro NCAP heavy quadricycles crash test results

Euro NCAP scored the quadricycles primarily on the data recorded by the crash test dummies – which replicate the forces your body would go through if you were involved in a car accident – but also analysed the performance of the structure and restraints.

Are buyers more interested in keeping costs down than becoming safer?

The Ligier and the Tazzari both suffered “major failings” of their restraint system in the frontal test.

In the Ligier, the upper connection for the driver’s seatbelt pulled entirely out of the structure, leaving nothing to prevent serious injury.

In the Tazzari, the driver’s seatbelt broke, causing the driver’s head to hit the steering wheel “with a force that indicated a high risk of serious or fatal injury”.

In the Club Car, the front structure of the vehicle “virtually collapsed” in the frontal impact.

In the Twizy, “dangerously high dummy readings” were recorded, due to its stiff structure and restraint system – but as the only vehicle here fitted with an airbag, it still scored best.


What does Euro NCAP think about the safety of heavy quadricycles?

Talking about the results, Euro NCAP secretary general, Michiel van Rattingen:

“It’s worrying to find that, because crash safety tests are not required by law, quadricycles show a level of safety that is way below that of cars. Even though they meet legislative standards, these vehicles lack the minimum safety equipment which has become commonplace on passenger cars sold in Europe.

“Our test campaign confirms that quadricycles generally provide a much lower level of safety than regular passenger cars. The poor results, however, urge us to ask ourselves whether consumers should really be satisfied with the protection currently being offered?

“As quadricycles look set to become more and more popular, Euro NCAP is calling for manufacturers and legislative authorities to ensure a minimum level of crash safety for this vehicle segment.”

Of course, improving safety standards in any type of vehicle inevitably increases production costs – which will also likely increase the retail price. Since part of the attraction of quadricycles is their relative affordability, are buyers more interested in keeping costs down than becoming safer we wonder?

Please click through our gallery above to judge the safety standards for yourself.

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By CJ Hubbard, Motoring Research