Tag Archives: Volvo

Ford Mustang falters on NCAP safety front

As you might expect, FOXY keeps an eye on the latest car safety features and reliability ratings.

In fact, Club research confirms that these two topics are at the top of most female car shoppers shortlist alongside affordability and environmental factors.

But these all figure a long way ahead of performance ratings (why would we need to know top speeds when we can’t drive that fast?) assuming there’s enough engine oomph to get us out of trouble, where needed.

So we’re fairly au fait with the likes of Euro NCAP ratings and delighted to see new safety control features like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) increasingly becoming standards.

We read what Thatcham Research has to say about car safety in particular because they are the independent automotive research centre and the voice of Euro NCAP in the UK. And they tell us that there are safer sports car choices than the current Ford Mustang.

“We have not given a Two Star Euro NCAP rating to any of the top 10 car brands since 2008”, confirms Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research.

“We have concerns about the Ford Mustang’s crash protection of adults and children which also makes it unsuitable for having rear passengers. On top of this, it does not have basic life-saving technology like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) that is available even on the Ford Fiesta, and the recently launched Ford Edge.

“Ford has made a deliberate choice here. Only minor updates have been made to meet required European (pedestrian) safety regulations which has resulted in poor adult and child protection scores and the high tech radar collision warning system that is available to US consumers is not being made available here in the UK.”

Avoid the 2 star Ford Mustang

A 2 star rating provides nominal crash protection but lacking crash avoidance technology. So you can expect Ford to put this area right for the UK market as soon as possible.

As things stand, the reasons for the poor 2 star Euro NCAP rating include

1. The frontal offset test – where the airbags of both the driver and passenger inflated insufficiently to properly restrain the occupants.

2. The full-width frontal test – where a lack of rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters meant that the rear passenger slid under the seatbelt, implying higher risk of abdominal injuries in real life accidents.

3. The side impact crash – where the head of the 10-year dummy contacted the interior trim, bottoming out the curtain airbag.

Wait for the new Ford Mustang later this year

Best to wait to buy the next version of the Mustang because Ford says that a face-lifted Mustang will be available within Europe later this year with Pre-Collision Assist and Lane Keep Assist as standard.

At that stage Euro NCAP will test the safety of this updated model and keep us posted.

NB: Other sports roadster cars better rated by Euro NCAP over the past few years include the Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Mazda MX-5.

Five star Volvo is the ultimate automotive safety brand

In contrast, the Volvo S90 and V90 received Five Star Euro NCAP ratings recently as a result of their class leading safety features. Both follow the safety performance trend of the XC90, with excellent occupant protection, a full suite of AEB functionality that includes pedestrian and cyclist crash prevention technology as well as its unique system that is capable of identifying large animals in the car’s path.

The S90 and V90 results surpass the best overall score of any model tested in 2016 and Euro NCAP’s top-3 best performing cars ever are all now Volvos.

I’d certainly have expected Ford to retain these safety tips from Volvo during their business partnership but clearly US standards are at variance to European ones. Let’s hope the UK retains Euro NCAP standards here, post Brexit.

FOXY Footnote:

When we buy an expensive new car we expect it to be safe and reliable as a minimum. Which begs the question why any motorist would buy any car if they realised it was significantly less safe (or less reliable) than other brand new models?

How do motorists sleep at night when their buying decision ignores safety concerns that COULD ultimately affect their family members, other motorists and pedestrians?

As you can see, some car brands, such as Volvo, fare better than most others in terms of car safety.

Which is why we’re delighted to have an affinity scheme in place for Club members with Volvo, so they can benefit from truly advantageous discounts to bring their fabulous brand new (safe, stylish and innovative) car models into the affordable reach of more women drivers than ever before.

Terms and conditions apply, as explained in the detail of our affinity car buying schemes at the Club website.


How to make a safe car choice

stop-the-crashWe asked Thatcham Research, the UK’s only accredited crash testing centre, to tell us about their work because we wanted Club members to understand their safety-related choices when buying a new car. Which they kindly did for us, as follows.

We all know we’re driving around in more protective cars than we were 10 years ago but there is still room for improvement in this critical area.

With a better understanding of how new cars are tested and the best safety options to consider, this knowledge will undoubtedly help motorists make a safer new car choice in future.

How does the EU test car safety?

Across the EU, independent organisations subject modern cars to rigorous safety testing which results in the award of a safety rating by Euro NCAP (the European New Car Assessment Programme).

All cars have to be tested in impartial conditions and Thatcham in Berkshire is the UK’s only accredited crash testing centre to carry out this important work.

Euro NCAP testing doesn’t just provide new car buyers with an overview of safety standards; it also sets future safety targets for vehicle manufacturers to aim for, ensuring that vehicle safety standards are continually improving for all even if they are only led by a few to begin with.

How are Thatcham tests conducted?

An extensive range of crash tests are conducted in a controlled environment including a track. These tests include frontal and side impact plus whiplash scenarios. Adult drivers and passengers are not the only consideration during testing; the impact on child occupants and pedestrians is also measured and influences the complex Euro NCAP rating.

Physical testing changes rapidly as modern vehicles evolve. For example, one of Thatcham Research’s most crucial roles is testing the new leading-edge technology that is designed to reduce the chances of an accident in the first place.

A good example here is the technology called ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) which plays an increasingly crucial role in the overall vehicle assessment. As vehicle safety standards rise, all manufacturers strive to keep up with the safety leaders here and to maintain their much coveted 5 star Euro NCAP rating.

To give you an idea of today’s Euro NCAP 5 star stated rating requirements, vehicles are expected to offer “Overall good performance in crash protection AND be well equipped with robust crash avoidance technology.”

What is crash avoidance technology?

One of the most important safety features to consider when buying a new car is the fitting of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as an ADAS. In its most basic form, AEB monitors traffic ahead using sensors fitted to the vehicle and applies the brakes when the driver is distracted or unable to, reducing the chances of a front to rear accident by an impressive 38%.

With one in four accidents being a front to rear impact, the potential benefit of AEB is evident.

Despite the safety benefits and the relatively low cost to manufacturers of AEB, this Advanced Driver Assistance System is not as commonplace as you might expect. In fact, whilst 48% of new cars in the UK can be fitted with AEB, it is only included in 21% of them (2016 figures).

So, if you didn’t know about AEB or didn’t ask for this feature at the time of order, your new car will likely be delivered without the one safety feature most likely to keep you and your family accident free in this area.

Not only does AEB contribute towards a valuable 5 star safety rating today, it can also help reduce insurance costs. Choose a car with AEB fitted and you should expect a drop of around 3-5 insurance groups which is the equivalent to saving some 10% in motor premiums.

So it’s well worth choosing a car that either has AEB as standard or asking your dealership if this is an “option” you can have fitted pre-delivery.

Which cars have AEB options?

To find out if your current vehicle is AEB equipped, or to arm yourself with the information you need to ensure your next new car is as safe as it can be, you can check safety specifications, using Thatcham’s handy AEB checker.

You may also like to see how we conduct crash tests at Thatcham Research, where you can see exactly what a crash test dummy goes through.

FOXY says: The Volvo XC90 includes AEB and leads the market with an award winning package of active and passive safety measures. This makes the Volvo XC90 Euro NCAP’s highest scoring car ever. Of particular note, Volvo Cars and the XC90 are all available at affinity discounts to Club members in 2017. Terms apply and Club members must have joined the Club a minimum of three months before becoming eligible for this offer.

Trailblazing Toni encourages other women into motor industry

toni_stoneacreI’m delighted to see Toni Louisa Rivett of Stoneacre Motor Group become the first woman to gain Master Technician status at Volvo.

This is quite something bearing in mind that only 2.5% of apprentices embarking on a motor industry based course (IMI stats) are female.

Toni joined Volvo in 2005 when she was 17 as part of the Volvo Apprentice Programme when she was working at John Morris Motors.

She finished that course in 2008, moving up to take the Level 2 qualification in 2010. Level 3 followed in 2012 when Stoneacre took over the Grimsby and Lincoln operations.

She then took her Master Technician programme which she has just completed.

“Ive spoken to lots of women who wish they’d had the chance to do what I’ve done.’ Toni explained.’Perhaps my achieving Master Technician status will encourage more women to come into the industry.’

For either gender Master Technician status is a remarkable achievement as it reflects a genuinely superior knowledge and hands on ability of all matters mechanical in this area.

In Toni’s case this is more than just that – it isn’t easy being female in such a masculine motor industry. Girls are not expected to want to be a mechanic and those that do often experience discrimination even if this is just ‘soft’ or ‘unintentional’. Many females simply give up and choose another career/industry.

But the die is cast now – if Toni can do it so can others. Come on girls – those of you with a strong STEM inclination – pick up your spanners and let’s show the boys we can do it as well, if not better, than the men.

A great career awaits – well done Toni!

A female friendly lifestyle choice in Leicester

Female friendly Sturgess Motor GroupNo matter your lifestyle, there’s a genuinely female friendly garage choice for women drivers in Leicester.

We first met Sturgess Motor Group when they organised a Women in the Driving Seat evening event for local female motorists. It was a popular feature in their calendar and their Marketing Manager, Nichola Moore, saw this as a way to show women drivers how much the Group cares about their motoring welfare not just the value of their business.

It was only a matter of time before this Motor Group would subscribe to FOXY Choice’s female friendly approved UK garage network as further evidence that they really do care for their female customers long after the car has been sold.

Sturgess operates seven franchised car dealership operations in Leicester covering Toyota, Nissan, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover brands. The dealership name and logo will be familiar in the city with branches in Narborough Road, Aylestone Road, Almond Road and Walnut Street.

All locations are ATA employers (Automotive Technician Accredited) which means their staff are accredited to repair all makes of cars not just their franchised brands. They also subscribe to the Motor Codes Service and Repair code which is working its way towards full OFT Code of Practice approval. These are both signs of superior standards in an industry with too many garage/dealership complaints and where women often feel ill at ease and on their guard.

This female unease is precisely why Sturgess have signed up to the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want’ AND have appoined Debbie McIntyre, Gill Clifford, Trish Blaber, Sheena Tegg, Rebecca Hill and Jessica Watts to be Female Business Ambassadors as part of the FOXY Choice female friendly approved garage network.

Sturgess of Leicester is one of the UK’s oldest family operated motor dealers and was founded in 1897. Women shopping for a new or nearly new car to suit their lifestyle and budget will find they have a genuinely female friendly choice here, whether it’s a 4×4, a prestigious executive car, a sporty convertible, something for the family or a stylish and environmentally friendly supermini.

We look forward to working with Sturgess in future.