In a coup that's sure to make sister company and safety champion Renault green with envy, Nissan's new Qashqai hatchback-cum-4x4 has scored the highest rating ever recorded by Euro NCAP for adult occupant protection.The Qashqai scored five stars and 37 points in the European benchmark crash test; that's maximum points for protection of occupants in a side impact, maximum points in NCAP's offset front pole crash test, and near-maximum points in the frontal impact test.In the crash safety body's other tests, the car also scored highly; it was awarded four stars for child occupant protection and two stars for pedestrian protection. The only car in the class that betters it in either of those areas is the Toyota Auris.
So are the tests tough enough?
With so many new cars now being awarded five stars for the customer-critical occupant protection, questions are being asked about the stringency of Euro NCAP's crash test proceedures.Within the last year alone, the Land Rover Freelander 2, new Mini, Peugeot 207 and 207 CC, Toyota Auris, Alfa 159, BMW 3-series, Fiat Bravo, Honda Legend, Volvo C30, Ford Galaxy, Citroen C4 Picasso, Mercedes-Benz B-class, Lexus IS, Ford S-Max and Vauxhall Corsa have all been given five NCAP crash stars for occupant protection. Within the same timeframe, the only new cars to score less than four out of five have been the Chrysler Voyager, the Chevrolet Kalos and the Kia Cerato (see gallery).