VW Amarok Highline first ute to score ANCAP 5-star safety

VW Amarok Highline first ute to score ANCAP 5-star safety

ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) has awarded its first 5-star safety rating to the Volkswagen Amarok 4WD Highline ute.

The Amarok is now the first double cab ute in the New Zealand market to achieve this rating and is a huge sign of confidence in this new contender to the ute market which was officially launched in New Zealand on 14 February 2011.

Utes often double as both workhorse and family transport and so this 5-star rating of the Amarok Double Cab Highline comes as a boost to VW’s expected sales in the NZ market. For the record, the vehicle scored 16 out of 16 in the side impact crash test and is the first dual-cab utility to ever receive a 5-star rating from ANCAP.

The Amarok is based on an internally developed rugged ladder frame. High-strength steel gives this chassis an exceptionally high level of crash safety,de-coupling the cab from the frame results in optimal torsional resilience which is especially advantageous for the Amarok‟s driving behaviour on rugged roads, providing strength especially in the area behind the passenger compartment.

The Amarok has ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) including off-road ESP as standard across the range. ESP prevents the vehicle from breaking away and also takes into account information on load status. Off-road ESP is activated by the touch of a button and gives more control as well as reducing stopping distances on loose surfaces.

A multiplex of airbags including head/thorax airbags which are rare in the ute segment are standard in the Amarok Highline. The telescoping steering column is designed to absorb crash energy, and this reduces risk of injury to the driver. Basic equipment includes three-point belts (driver‟s seat also has visual and acoustic belt warning) as well as height-adjustable head restraints at all outer seating positions. The outer rear seating positions are also prepped with Isofix receptacles for mounting suitable child seats.

“We expect this 5-star result will see other manufacturers striving to match the Amarok in safety terms – ANCAP has placed a real focus on utilities and light commercials over the past two years, and we have seen definite improvements in terms of occupant safety for most new models” says ANCAP Chair, Lauchlan McIntosh. “Whether on the land or in towns and cities” continues McIntosh “…it is only fair that drivers and passengers in these vehicles have similar levels of safety to those of people driving private passenger vehicles.”

Grant Doull, Manager of Commercial Vehicles Volkswagen, NZ is not surprised by the result “The words “game changer‟ have been bandied around of late but we always knew that we were launching a vehicle that would change standards and expectations in the ute market. For too long the market has been dominated by one or two brands and now the Volkswagen Amarok has definitely ruffled some feathers and offers consumers a safer, more capable and comfortable option. We‟re very happy with the result but we can‟t say we‟re surprised.”

It is important to note that the ANCAP 5-star rating only applies to the double-cab 4WD Highline version of the Amarok. The 4WD standard Amarok achieved a 4-star rating but can be upgraded to 5-star with a $650 option of side airbags. The 2WD version is currently being evaluated and so is unrated.

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