Euro NCAP has awarded the European specification Suzuki Baleno a 4 star crash rating for the car with the extra safety package. The standard variant which also has some safety equipment has received 3 stars. Euro NCAP recently published the finding of the crash test for the India-made Baleno and said it has crash tested two variants of the Baleno: One with the Safety Pack and the other with standard equipment, which is similar to the car available in India. Also, you would be interested to know that this is the very first occasion when Euro NCAP has tested two variants of the same car, thanks to revisions in the Euro NCAP norms.The Baleno and the Toyota Prius were the cars that got tested in the new format of the Euro NCAP tests.
The Baleno with standard equipment scored exactly the same in child and pedestrian safety. In the adult occupancy test, the car scored 80 per cent which was 5 per cent lesser than the variant with the radar brake support. The working of Safety Assist systems scored a paltry 25 per cent. And hence, it gets a star less than the Safety Pack variant.
What this tells us is that Suzuki definitely has the know how to manufacture cars which conform to the stringent European safety standards. As per Euro NCAP, the Radar Brake Assist performed well in the crash tests. This also points to good build quality and structural rigidity on the Baleno that is built at Maruti's plant in India, and exported to Europe. That kind of capability is heartening in a country like ours which has the highest road fatalities in the world. Indian manufacturers definitely have the technological know-how to fit made-in-India cars with cutting-edge safety systems. But India's archaic regulations mean none of it needs to be standard on cars sold here.
Having said that, the Suzuki Baleno sold in India conforms to all the regulations currently enforced by the law of the land. Once crash testing becomes mandatory in India we hope the local model will also adopt the structure and equipment that's found on the European specification export model. It has been our position for long that safety systems must be offered as at least optional, and good structural integrity must be standard on all cars sold in India. There has been a commendable effort on the part of the market leader off late to offer airbags and ABS as optional if not standard on most of its cars. The Alto too now has an optional driver side airbag. Others like Ford, Mahindra and Toyota have also taken huge strides in this area with safety as optional or standard on all variants of each model sold.