Crash tests show Kia Venga safety worry

* Frontal impact shows possible seatbelt problem in new Kia * Maximum score for Toyota Verso * Four-star ratings for Seat Exeo and Nissan Cube...

Crash tests show Kia Venga safety worry

Euro NCAP is advising everyone who has bought a Kia Venga to contact their local dealer to have a safety modification fitted.

This follows the organisations most recent round of crash tests, in which it identified a weakness in the restraint system, and which last week led to Kia launching a service campaign to address the concerns.

After the frontal impact test, Euro NCAP discovered a cut in the webbing of the drivers seatbelt, and concluded that this had been caused by interaction with the seat runners.

To solve the problem, Kia has produced a polypropylene sleeve to be added to the belt, and is asking all owners to return their car to the dealer to have this fitted, as well as delaying delivery of all new cars until the modification is fitted.

The Venga earned a four-star rating in the tests, but Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, said: Any reduction in the performance of the seat belt not only poses a serious risk to the driver and passenger, but also compromises the validity of the Euro NCAP rating awarded to the car. Customers must ensure that the modification is fitted, so that the four-star rating applies.

Following the organisations introduction of higher standards for its star ratings this year, only one car scored the maximum five stars in the latest tests. That was the Toyota Verso, which achieved good scores in all areas and a worthy 69% in pedestrian protection.

At the same time, the Seat Exeo and Nissan Cube scored four-star ratings. The Seat did well in protecting pedestrians and infants in the rear, but stiff structures in the dashboard presented an elevated risk of injury to knees and femurs, which the knee airbag was unable to mitigate. The Nissan Cube, otherwise a solid performer, was let down by its child occupant protection during the frontal impact test.

The final car in this round of tests was the Citroen Nemo Multispace, which is typical of a new breed of commercial vehicle-based family cars that Euro NCAP has identified as particularly poorly fitted with regard to their safety features and equipment.

The Nemo earned just three stars overall, and its score of 59% for Adult Occupant Protection the lowest in this group was attributed to the lack of standard curtain airbags and poor whiplash performance of the seats.

It also scored a lacklustre 29% for Safety Assist, because neither Electronic Stability Control nor Speed Limitation Assistance is available as an option.