The latest round of Euro NCAP testing has been completed, and the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has come out on top with five stars. No surprise here because the new model’s W204 predecessor also earned a five-star rating.
The five-star rating was compiled from scores of 92% for adult occupant safety, 84% for child occupant safety and 77% for pedestrian safety. In addition, the C-Class gained from its heavy complement of ‘safety assist’ features – worth 70%, according to Euro NCAP.
While the scorecard for the C-Class used words like ‘stable’ and ‘good’ in most instances, Euro NCAP described protection against rib compression in a side impact as ‘marginal’. And the same word was applied to whiplash protection for the rear-seat occupants.
The passenger compartment remained stable in the frontal impact. Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of the driver and passenger dummies. Mercedes-Benz showed that a similar level of protection would be provided for occupants of different statures and those sat in different positions. in the side barrier test, good protection was provided for all body regions and the car scored maximum points. In the side impact, dummy readings of rib compression indicated a marginal level of protection for this part of the body. The protection offered by the front seats against whiplash injury in a rear-impact was good but a geometric assessment of the rear head restraints revealed a marginal level of protection.
Based on dummy readings in the dynamic tests, the C-Class scored maximum points for its protection of the 1 yearinfant. Forward movement of the head of the 3 year dummy, sat in a forward-facing restraint, was not excessive. However, chest loads indicated marginal level of protection for this part of the body, and neck forces were also high. In the side impact, both dummies were properly contained by the protective shells of their restraints, minimising the risk of head contact with parts of the car interior. The passenger airbag is automatically disabled when a rearwardfacing child restraint is placed on the passenger seat. The system is different from previous Mercedes-Benz systems which only worked with specific seats. Clear information is provided to the driver regarding the status of the airbag and the system was awarded maximum points. All of the child restraints for which the car is designed could be properly fitted and accommondated by the car.
Nearly all of the tests performed on the bumper revealed a good level of protection being offered to pedestrians’ legs. However, the front edge of the bonnet was poor in almost all tested areas and scored very few points. The C-Class has an ‘active’ bonnet for improved head protection. When an impact with a pedestrian is detected, actuators lift the bonnet, creating more space between it and the hard structures in the engine bay. Mercedes-Benz showed that the system worked robustly for pedestrians of different statures and at a wide range of speeds, so the system was tested in the deployed position. Results were good in almost all of the areas tested.
The C-Class has a seatbelt reminder system for the front and rear seats which met Euro NCAP’s requirements. Electronic stability control is also standard equipment. A driver-set speed limitation device is optional but is expected to be fitted to most of the cars sold so was included in the assessment. The system met Euro NCAP’s requirements for systems of this type. Collision Prevention Assist PLUS®, fitted as standard equipment, is an autonomous braking system that works at low speeds typical of city driving and at higher speeds, typical of the open road. The system was effective at avoiding collisions up to certain speeds and mitigating them (lowering the severity of the impact) at higher speeds. ‘Lane Departure Warning’ is also available on the C-Class as an option, as is an active system to help keep the driver in the lane (‘Lane Departure Protection’), but these did not meet Euro NCAP’s fitment criteria for inclusion in the assessment.
Photos: Euro NCAP