As the saying goes, you’ll be seeing stars after you take a hit – in terms of crash testing, the more stars the better. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) recently awarded Mitsubishi’s 2WD ASX a maximum five stars for safety. Mitsubishi technical services manager Lloyd Robinson looks at technology involved to reach the gold standard.
There’s really only one way to test a vehicles crash worthiness and that’s to crash it. Crash testing is a critical part in the development of any vehicle and manufacturers perform multiple tests before a car goes to market. Once released, independent crash testers rank each model based on a combination of safety devices designed to protect occupants and pedestrians.
Design for life
There’s quite a list of structural and technological engineering that goes into maximising ASX safety: three point seat belts throughout plus pretensioners for front passengers, airbags, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and RISE impact construction around a high-tensile impact dispersing steel chassis.
Significantly, ASX features a first in Mitsubishi structural design: a C-section plenum. The plenum sits below the windscreen and is normally box section. Other than structural support, its function is to drain water from the wipers and provide clean air to the cabin.
The C-section maintains transverse rigidity and the front side is specifically designed to deform if struck by a pedestrian’s head, markedly reducing the potential severity of injury.
Also acting for the pedestrian are ASX’s plastic front guards, which sit on three impact-absorbing pedestals. Pedestrian impact is becoming an important consideration for crash testers and manufacturers that don’t give it enough thought struggle to achieve five-star results.
To ensure a vehicle is restored to a manufacturer’s specification, it is imperative that safety features such as the ASX’s C-section plenum and the aluminium roof of Outlander and EVO are repaired correctly. Mitsubishi dealers can provide to the industry all necessary repair details, some of which are also available through I-CAR. It is critical that the guidelines they set out are carefully followed to ensure vehicle integrity.
The ASX models bashed, smashed and crashed in Australia by ANCAP testers (and then destroyed!) may be a sorry site, but their state-of-the-art body structure and safety systems mean both passengers and pedestrians are a lot better off in the event of an accident.