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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
People carrier is 'least safe car'
Renault Espace left and Kia Sedona right
Renault Espace (left) performed much better than Kia Sedona

The Kia Sedona people carrier has been named the least safe new car, in an influential safety survey.

The family vehicle gained just two stars for occupant safety and only one for pedestrian safety.

The combined total made it the worst-performing car for two years in the annual Euro New Car Assessment Programme (ENCAP).

The survey also highlighted a poor performance from most car manufacturers when it came to pedestrian safety.

Dire warning

The AA Motoring trust described some of the carmakers' efforts to protect pedestrians as "dire", with only two cars receiving three out of a possible four stars for safety.

Ratings for car occupant safety in the event of a crash were much better, with five vehicles getting the maximum five stars.

Safest cars
Renault Espace
Volvo XC90
VW Touran
MGTF Roadster
Renault Megane
Source: Euro NCAP - passenger and occupant safety scores combined

The safest cars included popular family models such as the Renault Espace, Toyota Avensis and the Volvo XC90.

But some cars such as the Peugeot 807 and BMW X5 which scored five stars for passenger safety managed only one when it came to pedestrians.

"While there have been great strides in the protection for people inside the car, the safety of those outside is dire in some cases. Many vehicles are still only scoring one star," said John Dawson, AA Motoring Trust director.

Improvement

Transport Minister David Jamieson took the report's publication as an opportunity to step up the pressure on car manufacturers to improve safety for pedestrians.

"Progress on improving pedestrian protection scores has been slow, with very few vehicles achieving three stars to date," Mr Jamieson said.
Poor safety performance
Kia Sedona
Hyundai Trajet
Fiat Punto
Fiat Seicento
Source: Euro NCAP - passenger and occupant safety scores combined

"Scores will have to improve before the proposed European Directive on pedestrian protection begins to take effect in 2005."

The highest scoring cars for pedestrian safety were the VW Touran and MGTF Roadster which both achieved three out of four stars.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Tom Symonds
"The Kia Sedona is the worst car they've tested for two years"



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