Euro NCAP reveals the 2022 list of the best and worst commercial vans available on the European market, based on an evaluation of crash avoidance system fitment and performance. The picture that emerges is one of slow but steady improvement, with several vans being better equipped than they were a year ago, with systems that perform better than they did. Where manufacturers have made more substantial updates to their vehicles, big performance improvements are seen and one – the FIAT Ducato – becomes the first van to achieve the top platinum rating.
Last year, Euro NCAP drew attention to the poor level of fitment of safety equipment to commercial vans. As the workhorse of choice for couriers and small businesses, these vehicles spend a lot of time on the road where, because of their size and mass, they represent a larger hazard to smaller vehicles and vulnerable road users if they are involved in a collision. New legislation will force van manufacturers to fit basic avoidance systems, already widely available on passenger cars, in a few years’ time. In the meantime, Euro NCAP’s commercial van ratings aim to encourage manufacturers to fit more advanced systems more quickly.
Euro NCAP revisited nineteen vans representing the lion’s share of commercial vans sold in Europe. Only one van assessed was rated as ‘Not Recommended’, as opposed to five last year. While the FIAT Talento has been discontinued, the Opel/Vauxhall Movano is now built on a new Stellantis platform and gets a bronze medal. The Renault Master has also gained a bronze medal this year, thanks to small but notable improvements to its speed and lane assistance systems. Its twin, the Nissan Interstar (previously the NV400), also gets these improvements, however, for the time being, still lacks an Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system and so remains in the Not Recommended category.
The Renault Trafic has been re-engineered and its safety extensively improved since it was last tested. It now has a robust AEB car to car as an option and jumps to a silver medal ranking, making it one of the most markedly improved vehicles this year.
The new FIAT Ducato, however, is the clear winner, claiming the top spot on this year’s list. Last year ranked bronze, the vehicle has had a major safety make-over and now features an advanced sensor set, offering AEB pedestrian and AEB cyclist, and excels in these tests. The Ducato’s 88 percent overall score sees it leapfrog the competition to become the first platinum-rated commercial van. Sadly, the other Stellantis vehicles with which the Ducato shares its platform – Peugeot Boxer, Citroën Jumper and Opel Movano – did not get the same equipment upgrade and remain in lower medal positions than their FIAT counterpart.
Euro NCAP’s Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, commented: “We are seeing promising signs that commercial vans are being upgraded with more advanced safety systems, closing the gap between passenger car and commercial vehicle segment. In general, it looks as though manufacturers are starting to take the safety in this segment more seriously and, while there is a way to go, we are inspired by the improvements – some modest, some impressive – that we have seen in the last year.