Safety accolade for Citroen

20 January 2006

Citroen has won the Safety Award at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards.

The award goes to the car manufacturer or organisation which has done most to improve road safety over the past 12 months, whether by improving crash protection, introducing new technology to help avoid accidents, or by raising the profile of road safety issues.

Citroen has overtaken compatriot Renault to pick up the prize for 2006. It wasn't an easy decision; many car makers have improved their crash test performance or introduced technologies to help make our roads safer, but Citroen has done the most.

The highlight of an impressive year of achievement was the superb performance of the C6 executive saloon in Euro NCAP crash tests. Five stars for occupant protection is commendable, but no longer unusual. What really set the C6 apart was its exceptional result in the pedestrian safety test.

Key to the C6's performance is the Active Bonnet system. In most cars, the limited space between the bonnet and the engine increases the likelihood of a serious head injury for the pedestrian.

In the C6, the bonnet is automatically raised by 65mm in the event of an accident to provide greater impact-absorbing space. Thanks to this clever technology, the C6 became the first car to score the maximum four stars for pedestrian protection, something some car manufacturers once claimed was impossible.

This award isn't just for the C6. The C4 small family car has also scored five stars for occupant protection and a commendable three stars for pedestrian protection.

There's also Citroen's Lane Departure Warning System to consider. This device vibrates the driver's seat whenever the car drifts across lane markings at speeds over 50mph, when the indicators have not been activated. The idea is to jolt a tired driver into alertness, and warn them to take a break.

Pedestrian protection and technology to help us avoid accidents have not evolved at the same speed as crash protection. That's beginning to change, and Citroen is in the vanguard.

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