Five stars shining above the new Defender

Five stars shining above the new Defender

The car has a feature that earned it 5 stars at the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) crash test – something that is achieved by only a select few of the large SUVs.

Sometime, about seventy years ago, the Land Rover was just as comfortable as a second world war Willys Jeep. Those were built to be appliances for specific tasks, designed to be manufacturable at large volumes as cheap as possible.

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Fool-proof cars needed

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis – times are changed, we also are changed with them, according to the ancient Latin adage. But it’s not only us, our cars have changed as well with more and more people behind the wheels who can be considered to be a security risk. These days, it’s not enough if an SUV is capable of journeying from the North to the South pole without getting stuck on the road, it has to be fool-proof as well. Meaning it has to protect its passengers in case a fool crashes into their car.

 This is why the new Land Rover Defender is equipped with modern driver-assistance systems to prevent and mitigate, as far as possible, collisions with other road-users.

And this is what the Euro NCAP rewarded with 5 stars on 9th of December.

The system performed well in tests of its detection and reaction to other vehicles, with impacts being avoided or mitigated in most cases.

The Land Rover Defender Double Cab 110 is seen in the opening sequence of Skyfall driven by Naomie Harris with Daniel Graig (James Bond) as passenger. But in fact the car was driven by Ben Collins, better known as The Stig from BBC’s internationally acclaimed Top Gear TV Show. The Stig has collected high profile movie credentials before Skyfall: he acted as a stunt driver in The Dark Knight Rises, Quantum of Solace, Fast & Furious 6 among others.

This is how the Defender defends

A year ago on 4th December 2019, Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of the Euro NCAP wrote the following:

“Well done to 5 stars performers for not only bringing best in class performance in testing but also making safety systems accessible and standard across the European market. It is also good to see manufacturers standardising AEB (autonomous emergency braking system) and keeping safety up-to-date even for older cars, to the benefit of their customers.”

The Defender’s autonomous emergency braking system (AEB) can detect vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists, as well as other vehicles. In tests, the system’s response to pedestrians was adequate and to cyclists was good, with collisions avoided or mitigated in most cases.

The vehicle also has ‘Driver Drowsiness Detection’, which uses steering inputs to detect when the driver is fatigued or otherwise impaired and issues a warning if that is the case. The lane support system gently corrects the steering of the car if it is drifting out of lane and also intervenes more aggressively in some critical situations. A speed assistance system uses a camera and a digital map to detect the local speed limit. The driver can choose to let the system limit the speed appropriately

How to read the stars

5 star safety: Overall excellent performance in crash protection and well equipped with comprehensive and robust crash avoidance technology

4 star safety: Overall good performance in crash protection and all round; additional crash avoidance technology may be present

3 star safety: At least average occupant protection but not always equipped with the latest crash avoidance features

2 star safety: Nominal crash protection but lacking crash avoidance technology

1 star safety: Marginal crash protection and little in the way of crash avoidance technology

0 star safety: Meeting type-approval standards so can legally be sold but lacking critical modern safety technology


Peter Faidt

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