Euro NCAP Tests 18 Vans Under More Rigorous Protocols, Only 2 Awarded Gold Ratings

Founded in 1996 and based in Belgium, the European New Car Assessment Programme started rating commercial vans in 2021. The non-profit organization revisited its commercial van ratings in 2022, and it did so again in 2023, with tougher performance criteria.
Euro NCAP 2023 van testing 16 photos
Photo: Euro NCAP / edited
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Euro NCAP has recently tested a whopping 18 commercial vans under new protocols, with merely two scoring more than 60 percent out of a possible 100 percent. The two in question are the 2022-and-newer Fiat Ducato MJT with 180 metric ponies on tap and 2021-and-newer Ford Transit with the 2.0 EcoBlue diesel.

Both of them were awarded the gold rating, a badge of honor that makes the Ducato and Transit the safest vans in the segment. The Mercedes-Benz Vito dropped from its previous gold rating to silver, joining the slightly larger Sprinter with 48 and 52 percent to their names.

Silver recipients further include the oh-so-popular Volkswagen Transporter and full-size Crafter, the Renault Traffic, and a van that may not ring a bell to many peeps. The Nissan Primastar was replaced by the NV300 in 2016, then returned in 2021 as a badge-engineered Renault Traffic to the UK and EU markets.

By earning 35 percent, Iveco’s long-running Daily is the first van ranked in the bronze category. It’s followed by the Peugeot Expert (31 percent), Opel Vivaro and technically similar Vauxhall Vivaro (30 percent), Renault Master (25 percent), Citroen Jumpy (24 percent), Toyota Proace (23 percent), Opel Movano and Vauxhall Movano (22 percent), Peugeot Boxer (22 percent), and Citroen Jumper with a paltry 20 percent.

The single biggest offender is the Nissan Interstar Accenta 2.3 dCi 135 from 2022 onward, which scored a simply unacceptable 18 percent. It’s the only van of the 18 tested by Euro NCAP to be rated “not recommended” based on the sheer lack of crash avoidance systems.

Not long now, Euro NCAP will also release the ratings for the Ford Transit Custom and LEVC VN5. Under the revised testing protocols, 80 percent or higher means platinum in the non-profit organization’s eyes. Van manufacturers need to act or be left behind given that vans will have the same ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) requirements as passenger cars.

Van manufacturers aren’t alone in this, for Euro NCAP will soon roll out a rating scheme for larger, heavier trucks. HGVs are instrumental to goods transport in the United Kingdom and European Union. Considering how many miles HGV drivers rack up weekly, advanced driver assistance systems that perform as intended are utmost necessary in these vehicles. Euro NCAP intends to launch the HGV-specific rating scheme this year.

Heavy goods vehicle sales rose by an impressive 9.6 percent in 2022, totaling 40.716 registrations, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. On the other hand, commercial vehicle registrations are down 14.6 percent in 2022 in the European Union, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

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 Download: Euro NCAP 2023 van testing results (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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