Even the best-rated cars for safety don’t look so hot after they’ve been through a crash test, but there’s something particularly troubling about the state of this VW Sharan.
As should be abundantly clear by the above image, the MPV’s door made a bid for freedom during a test by Euro NCAP. The vehicle lost marks due to a rear door detaching during the side pole test, “presenting a risk of occupant ejection,” Thatcham Research says.
“Although the Volkswagen Sharan is an older design, families will still choose it,” Thatcham’s research chief Matthew Avery said, adding, “A structural failure of this magnitude in impact testing is disappointing.”
Despite being penalised for the wayward door, the Sharan was still awarded a four-star rating. That’s down from the car’s previous Euro NCAP score of five stars, achieved after being put through a less stringent version of the side pole test. That time it didn’t result in any flyaway doors.
In the same batch of vehicles as the Sharan, the Jeep Renegade had the dubious honour of being Euro NCAP’s first three-star car of the year. Still, at least that’s better than the Wrangler, which was given just one star when it was put through the trials last year.
All other tested in this group - including the Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model X and the new Škoda Octavia - scored the full five stars.
Car Throttle sister publication Auto Express has asked Thatcham why the Sharan was still awarded its four-star mark despite the door issue, and approached VW for comment.
Thatcham’s research boss Matthew Avery said:
“The pole crash is the most structurally invasive of all Euro NCAP crash test assessments. In the test, the Volkswagen Sharan showed a high level of protection for the occupants and the restraint systems are well-designed to prevent injuries. Witness the majority green areas on the dummy.
“However, the instability of the side-door was of concern and resulted in points being deducted. This reflects the fact that although the overall performance of the vehicle was not compromised, there could be, in extreme circumstances, a risk of ejection.
“Although the detachment of the door appears dramatic, the dummy injury values – the most critical part of the assessment – indicate that the vehicle offers high levels of passive safety protection.
“Euro NCAP is constantly challenging carmakers to improve levels of passive and active safety and the threshold for a five-star Euro NCAP rating becomes more exacting on an annual basis.
Ultimately, we want carmakers to manufacture, and drivers to purchase, five-star cars.”