The all-new Mahindra Thar was already making news because of the beeline outside Mahindra dealerships and waiting periods as long as five months. Now it has driven itself to the headlines again, this time for another good reason. The SUV has scored four stars in the Global NCAP crash tests, for adult as well as child occupancy protection. This is great news for people who have booked the SUV and are waiting for their respective deliveries. Achieving this result on a vehicle with ladder frame chassis is a challenge in itself and the fact that an Indian OEM has achieved this feat is something that Mahindra and every Indian can be proud of. So congratulations on that, Mahindra!
The Thar used for crash tests had dual airbags, ABS, ISOFIX anchorages, and a three-point seatbelt for all four occupants, which is standard across all variants. The Thar also passed the side impact tests comfortably, according to the report. Side-impact tests are carried out in accordance with the UN95 standards and it is mandatory for any car to reach 5-star ratings. However, not everything is rosy. While the structure of the Thar was rated stable, the footwell area was rated unstable and not capable of withstanding further loadings, according to the report.
It also does not get ESC but the Thar met the minimum ESC (electronic stability control) tests according to UN regulation. The below video shows the ESC tests and you can see the unstable dynamic behavior of the Thar when pushed to the edge. It is an SUV after all – built on a ladder frame chassis – and no SUV should be driven like a sports car for that matter. All SUVs have body roll because the ground clearance is more and the center of gravity will also be located higher, which increases the roll of the car during cornering.
The Thar was tested for the frontal-offset crash at 64kmph and in adult occupancy, the report says that the protection to driver and passenger heads and necks were good. It also further states, “Driver’s knees showed marginal protection as they could impact with dangerous structures behind the dashboard supported by the Tranfascia tube while passenger’s knees showed good and marginal protection. Driver tibias showed marginal and adequate protection while passenger tibias showed adequate protection. The bodyshell was rated as stable and it was capable of withstanding further loadings. Footwell area was rated as unstable.” All these factors meant that the Thar could achieve only 12.52 out of 17 points, scoring 4-stars out of five.
The Child occupancy report is more encouraging both the 3-year-old dummy and 18-month-old dummy got good protection. The report states, “The child seat for the 3-year-old was installed FWF (forward-facing) with ISOFIX anchorages and top tether and was able to prevent excessive forward movement of the head during the impact below the 550mm limit. The 18-month-old CRS was installed with the ISOFIX base with support leg rearward-facing offering full protection to the child occupant.” The above factors added up to a score of 41.11 out of 49, helping the Thar to get 4-stars in child occupancy.
Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Global NCAP
“Mahindra’s commitment to safer cars is once again displayed for consumers and shows that it is possible to offer good safety performance in the Indian market. It is encouraging to see manufacturers that also offer high levels of protection for children traveling in their vehicles. The Thar demonstrates the capacity of Mahindra to improve its fleet safety.”
David Ward, President of the Towards Zero Foundation
“Another good result for Mahindra which shows the manufacturer’s commitment to safety. It is very satisfying to see this growing vehicle safety trend in the Indian car market, which combines minimum regulatory requirements with the purchasing power of #SaferCarsforIndia informed consumers, helping to drive demand for ever safer vehicles.”
Safety should be a top priority
Just last week, Global NCAP released the crash test results of three cars – Hyundai Grand i10, Maruti Suzuki Espresso, and Kia Seltos. It came as no surprise when the Espresso scored zero stars and Grand i10 scored two stars – these cars are not known for their build quality and passenger protection anyway. What was surprising and unexpected was the three-star rating that the Seltos got, especially after the Seltos aced Australian NCAP results a while back. Seltos has been a runaway success for Kia and these results may cause a dent in its sales – only time will tell though.
It does raise some uncomfortable questions about the quality standards followed by Kia when it comes to the Indian market. Homegrown carmakers Mahindra and Tata Motors are doing a stellar job in delivering quality, solid build quality, and VFM cars without compromising on safety, and both companies deserve to do much better in terms of sales. Hope the average car buyer takes safety on top of his/her list rather than chasing fuel efficiency and other creature comforts.