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How safe are the top 10 best-selling cars in PH?

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PHOTO: Charles Banaag

Vehicle safety has come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago when cars didn’t have airbags (SRS), anti-lock brakes (ABS), or even rear seatbelts. These days, features such ABS and SRS are standard in just about every car sold here, and more advanced systems, such as stability control, are becoming more common in cars under P1,000,000.

But that got us thinking, just how safe are the best-selling cars in the country? For that, we take a look at the safety ratings of the top 10 best-sellers in the land, specifically, those that made the list in 2022. The ratings you will see here are based on the tests performed by the ASEAN New Car Assessment Program (ASEAN NCAP)

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Nissan Navara

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Nissan Navara

We kick things off with the tenth-best selling model in the country, the Nissan Navara. ASEAN NCAP tested this truck way back in 2016, following that year’s testing parameters. The Navara bagged five stars for safety as it provided good protection to the head, arms, thighs, and feet in a frontal collision. ASEAN NCAP also boosted the score of the Navara because of the standard stability control.

Toyota Hiace

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Toyota Hiace

Up next is the country’s best-selling van, the Toyota Hiace. The Hiace was tested by ASEAN NCAP in 2019 as the Majesty, Thailand’s name for the Super Grandia. Moving the engine ahead of the windshield did wonders for the Hiace’s safety rating. Whereas the ‘flat nose’ version only scored three stars, the ‘long nose’ Hiace/Super Grandia bagged five stars. However, ASEAN NCAP noted strong loads on the chest in a frontal impact, but it’s not enough to knock down the stars.

Mitsubishi Xpander

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Mitsubishi Xpander

The Xpander has been a smash hit for Mitsubishi since its launch, and it continues to be a strong seller for the brand to this day. ASEAN NCAP tested this MPV in 2018 and gave it four stars. So, why didn’t it get the full five star rating? While the Xpander provided good adult occupant protection, the it did not perform as well in terms of child occupant protection. ASEAN NCAP also noted high chest loads in the front impact test.

Toyota Raize

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Toyota Raize

Up next is the Toyota Raize, the Philippines’ top-selling subcompact crossover. Tested by ASEAN NCAP as the Perodua Ativa, the agency put the Raize through its paces in December 2020. The Raize bagged five stars thanks to near-perfect scores in side impact testing and child occupant protection, as well as the availability of active safety systems such as autonomous emergency braking. Good news for Raize owners, then.

Toyota Wigo

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Toyota Wigo

Just how safe is the Toyota Wigo, the smallest car in this list? Also known as the Toyota Agya and Daihatsu Axia, the results of the mini hatchback is the oldest here as it was tested all the way back in 2014. Tougher scoring procedures were set in place in the following years, but if we were to base it on its score at the time, the Wigo managed four stars. ASEAN NCAP noted good adult occupant protection, but were alarmed at the high risk of the driver’s knees hitting the dashboard. The agency also noted average protection for children.

Toyota Rush

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Toyota Wigo

ASEAN NCAP’s assessment of the Toyota Rush is a bit of a mixed bag. Tested by the agency in 2018, this crossover-MPV got five stars, but for rather interesting reasons. ASEAN NCAP had some concerns with the front impact test, particularly when the driver’s side dummy registered a moderate to high possibility for chest and leg injuries. However, the Rush made up for that by getting perfect scores in child occupant protection.

Toyota Innova

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Toyota Innova

We move on to the country’s favorite MPV, the Toyota Innova. ASEAN NCAP gave two ratings for the Innova, one for models without side airbags, and another for models equipped with it. Tested in 2016, the ones without the side airbags scored four stars, while the ones with side airbags received five. Simply put, the latter provided better protection in an impact and a lesser risk of injury. That said, it’s worth noting that the Innova received good scores in child occupant protection. The Innova was retested in 2020, but it still keeps its five-star rating.

Toyota Hilux and Toyota Fortuner

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Toyota Hilux

You’re probaby wondering why the Hilux and Fortuner are bundled together. That’s because ASEAN NCAP decided to extended the scores and assessment of the Hilux on to the Fortuner since both vehicles ride on the same platform. That also means both the Hilux and Fortuner get five stars. The agency lauded both models for providing good protection for both adults and children, and the availability of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) such as autonomous emergency braking further improved its rating.

Toyota Vios

Safety check: Best-selling cars - Toyota Vios

And now, for the country’s best-selling car, the Toyota Vios. We’ll go straight to the point and say it received five stars. However, like the Rush, the breakdown of the scores is a mixed bag. ASEAN NCAP noted good adult occupant protection but noted a risk for thigh injuries for the front passenger. However, the sedan was awarded perfect scores for child occupant protection, evening out the score. The inclusion of stability control on all variants helped in giving the Vios the full five stars. Mind you, that rating is only for the models equipped with stability control and seven airbags. Without those, the Vios is a four-star car.

Now that you know the safety ratings of these cars, which one of these would you consider? However, it should be said that most of the models here are due for a redesign or have all-new versions that have yet to be tested, namely the Wigo, Innova, Hilux, Fortuner, and Vios. But once those models have been tested, you can, and should, expect these to be the safest versions yet. 

Of course, the safety ratings will be for nothing if the driver is reckless of if the vehicle's occupants will not wear seatbelts. So always remember to buckle up, and be careful on the road.

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PHOTO: Charles Banaag
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