Was ANCAP right to go after 2015 Mitsubishi Express?

ANCAP’s headline grabbing antics over its zero-star rating for a four-year old vehicle (Express van) have prompted a response from Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi has issued a statement regarding ANCAP’s announcement today awarding the 2015 Mitsubishi Express van a zero star rating. The Japanese car maker said the Express van was designed with reference to the 2015 NCAP protocols where active safety systems were not a prerequisite in testing.

Indeed, the Express van, launched back in 2015, carries a three-star NCAP rating and meets all Australian Design Rules for vans. Mitsubishi further suggested that the safety technology on the Express represents the lifecycle of commercial vehicles which is around eight years or more.

A spokesperson for Mitsubishi Motors told MotoFomo: “The van was designed with reference to the 2015 NCAP protocols. There has been significant movement in the application of driver assistance technologies since that time, which has been reflected in the new NCAP protocols against which this van has been tested.

 “The Express meets all Australian Design Rules (ADR) standards for vans, and the results of the crash testing by ANCAP indicates a good level of adult occupant protection overall.

“Compared to competitor peers of a similar age (2014/2015), the vehicle holds a competitive position in terms of NCAP rating. It holds a 3 star (2015) rating in Europe, ANCAP did not report NCAP’s earlier rating. 

“The technology included in the vehicle reflects the lifecycle cycle of commercial vehicles, which is generally eight years or more.”

So, while new commercial vehicles are arriving with active safety systems, older vehicles simply don’t have them. And ANCAP is clearly walking a tightrope if it decides to look at the market and start selecting vehicles relatively unchanged or not updated since 2015.

What ANCAP should rather be doing is retesting vehicles that have been updated since their initial launch. Indeed, while many dual cab 4x4s either new or revised have active safety features being added, few of them are being retested by ANCAP, allowed to trade-off earlier ratings when active safety systems weren’t part of the testing criteria.

So, the question for the Internet is, was ANCAP looking to make headlines for itself, and was what it’s done to the Mitsubishi Express fair?

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.