Saturday, December 23, 2006

Proton Waja crash test by Top Gear

Here' a crash test of a Proton Waja (Impian) by Top Gear. The Waja has a 3-star NCAP rating. They compare the Waja's crash performance to the Toyota Aventis which has a 5-star rating.

Note the very insightful comments about the crumpling of the passenger compartment, the movement of the steering wheel and brake pedal in a crash. The Waja fares ever so poorly compared to the Adventis. I wouldn't want to be in a Waja in a collision. The steering wheel breaks your face, the brake pedal breaks your leg and the rest of the cabin crumples around you into a tight steel coffin, where the doors jam shut when the firemen try to rescue you.

The test was a 40mph (60kmh) crash in to a deformable concrete block. Well 60kmh, isn't really that fast at all. The highway cruising speed is typically twice that. However, the big problem is the concrete block. Immovable objects like concrete blocks don't react like cars and pedestrians, when they are crashed into. They don't dissipate any energy by crumpling up or moving in the opposite direction to absorb the forces of the crash. Therefore your car is forced to absorb all the destructive energy. The concrete block just sits there.

But if you think crashing into immovable concrete blocks is a rarity on Malaysian roads, it is NOT! For some reason, a lot of Malaysians drive into parked lorries and tree trunks at highway speeds every year. Lorries are solid steel and trees are solid wood. Both are just as immovable as any concrete block.

And for those who think that big cars are always better than small cars in an accident (which is why you chose a larger 40year old design like the Proton Iswara instead of a newer but smaller Perodua Kelisa), you might reconsider your stand after having a look at how much better even the tiny Ford Fiesta (NCAP 4-star) performs compared to the Waja.

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