February 22, 2010
Car visibility on the blink
Cars are getting safer every year, but according to Which? drivers’ views are increasingly becoming more restricted and they have just announced which cars are the best and worst for visibilty.
All-round visibility is generally getting worse than 15 years ago – this is because of the strengthening that has gone into door pillars; growing from barely noticeable strips to thick chinks of metal.
According to the Royal Society of Accidents (RoSPA) 1% of all accidents are caused by blind spots, they also suggest that if you eliminated them you would prevent 25 fatal accidents each year.
In Which? Car’s rigorous research, the Smart ForTwo Coupé comes out top for driver’s vision with a visibility score* of 64.8%, aided by its lack of a B pillar (usually found between a car’s front and rear doors). The Fiat 500 (58.7%) is second and the Citroën C3 Picasso (58.2%) is third. The raised driving position in the Ford Galaxy MPV (57.4%) brings benefits for the driver’s line of sight, as it does to a lesser extent in the VW Golf Plus (56.2%).
At the bottom of the list, convertibles such as the Porsche Boxster (31.4%), BMW Z4 (38.7%) and Lexus IS 250C (39.4%) rate poorly, though obviously their view improves considerably once the roof is down. And there are issues with the futuristic Honda Civic (37.6%), which has a split rear screen that does rear visibility no favours.
Which? Car editor, Richard Headland, says:”It’s vital to make sure a car protects its occupants in a crash, but accident research – and common sense – suggest that crashes are more likely if visibility is reduced. This is of particular concern for more vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Some models that score well for visibility in our tests also achieve good crash-test results, showing it is perfectly possible to design safe cars with good visibility.
“Which? Car is calling on manufacturers to do all they can to make life easier for drivers and we have drawn up a list of recommendations to make conditions safer.
- Cars should have a better field of vision in the A pillar (front roof pillar) area and C pillar (rear-most pillar) area.
- There should be improvement in side impact protection.
- Electronic ‘junction assistants’ should be introduced.
- Head curtain airbags should be installed as standard.
February 3, 2010
New research suggests that Europeans will buy 10 million low carbon cars by 2015
New research by Frost and Sullivan has suggested that 80% of new cars sold in Europe will have CO2 emissions below 150g/KM by 2015.
“By 2015, the average car in Europe will be five per cent lighter, with 30 per cent lower CO2 emissions,” says Frost & Sullivan Programme Manager Vigneshwaran Chandran. “Downsizing, gasoline direct injection (GDI), and start-stop will be the key technologies helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) achieve emission targets by 2015.”
About 8-10 million cars are expected to be in the less than 120g/km CO2 emission band in Europe by 2015 – a significantly attractive market opportunity for both volume and premium manufacturers, says the research.
“Premium manufacturers such as Daimler and BMW are likely to use a combination of electric vehicles, hybridization, and downsizing to achieve their 2015 CO2 emission target of 130g/km, while volume manufacturers will use a mix of green technologies such as GDI, VVT and start-stop systems,” notes fellow analyst Hariher Balasubramanian.
The countries covered in this research service are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.