By on December 10, 2009

The Scion xD is known in Europe as the “Urban Cruiser,” and with an AWD option it’s sold as a quasi-SUV. According to a Euro NCAP crash test of comact cars though, the Urban Cruiser offers a lot less safety than you might expect in an SUV. NCAP’s latest round of compact testing saw vehicles from the new Opel Astra and Chevy Cruze to the Peugeot 308 and Mazda3 recording perfect five-star scores, indicating just how safe compact cars have become. And even the video of the Urban Cruiser’s three-star performance lacks the drama of earlier compact crash tests: a failure of side airbags and a weak performance in the new side pole crash caused the poor score. Most embarrassing of all, the Chevrolet Spark (neé Daewoo Matiz Creative) came in second to last, scoring four stars to the Urban Cruiser’s three.

Toyota’s PR has responded to the poor showing, telling What Car?:

In 2009, we received a five-star rating for all three new cars that were evaluated by Euro NCAP (iQ, Avensis and Prius).

We are therefore very surprised that the Urban Cruiser received only a three-star rating from Euro NCAP. As with any other Toyota vehicle, we had submitted the Urban Cruiser to rigorous in-house tests, which indicated that it would secure a five-star rating.

We are currently investigating the Euro NCAP result in detail, in order to understand why there is a difference between our Toyota assessment and Euro NCAP’s rating.

Together with other car makers, we are also discussing with Euro NCAP certain aspects of their evaluation methodology, which might also explain why the rating is lower than we expected.

The three-star rating for the Urban Cruiser has been triggered by the “pole side impact” test. During this assessment, the dummy head area deceleration slightly exceeded the demand value of Euro NCAP.

There is a difference of opinion between us and Euro NCAP on a technical matter, namely peak acceleration of the head area in the Pole Side Impact test.

Our in-house tests, which are designed to meet the highest safety requirements, indicated that the protection provided by the head curtain airbag would be in line with a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

Once again, we remain fully convinced that Urban Cruiser is a safe car.

And compared to past performances in this class, the xD is a relatively safe car. It’s just less safe than… a 1.2 liter Korean minicar. Deal with it, Toyota.

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21 Comments on “Scion xD Scores Last In Euro NCAP Compact Crash Test...”

  • avatar

    Maybe it was actually a Great Wall xD copy that somebody at NCAP slapped Toyota badges on?  :P

  • avatar

    Sounds a lot like GM back in the ’80s trying to explain away how badly some of its cars did in safety testing.

  • avatar

    Time to shut down the Scion experiment. Sales are dismal. Designs are ugly.

    • 0 avatar

      When both Honda (Element) and Toyota (Scion) tried to sell  cars to young people, mostly old people bought them.  Maybe someone should try purposely making cars for old people and see if Gen-X/Y types by them out of irony. 

    • 0 avatar

      They do purposefully make a car for old people, the Mercury Grand Marquis.  No ironic hipsters driving around Portland in them yet.

    • 0 avatar

      Can you prove it’s on purpose?  I argue that the current cars for old people were designed that way by accident.  I don’t think Ford engineers sat down almost 30 years ago when designing the Panther platform and said; “Hmmmmmmmmmm.  So let’s see, today I’m gonna start work on a car for people who live in retirement homes.”  Unless you do that, it’s not ON PURPOSE.  Toyota and Honda said to themselves; “Holy crap!  The average age of our customers is rising, we better come out with something hip for the college crowd!”  Then they built Scion and the Element (epic fail), I remember reading during the first year the Element was out that the average buyer was 58 yrs old. 

    • 0 avatar

      Older people only like the Mercury Grand Marquis because it’s exactly like the Mercury Grand Marquis they had as a youth.

    • 0 avatar

      Dan, the average buyer of a Scion is 35.  That’s a good number for the industry in general, let alone for Toyota.  So no, “mostly old people” do not buy Scions.  They aren’t the Echo, for heaven’s sake.
      And for the record, the entire Scion line existed in some form as Japanese models before they were brought here – even the current xB is a fascia change away from the JDM Corolla Rumion.  Toyota didn’t “design” shit, they moved the steering wheel.
      Also for the record, the original xB did just fine in sales – outstanding, actually – until Toyota inexplicably discontinued it.  So think less cancellation and more of a rollback, and you’ll be on the right track…

  • avatar

    If the damn thing doesn’t kill you with unintended acceleration, it’ll getcha when you crash into something.

  • avatar

    Good news: For such a little car, the Chevy Spark (coming soon) does pretty well. Bad news: Scion xD pratically goes airborn during the first crash.

  • avatar

    I am surprised that the Scion only received 3 stars.  But I also read two other bits of information here.  The Spark received 4 stars, which I assume is pretty good for a vehicle that size.  Amazingly, 4 stars is the second lowest rating, which is also very impressive for that segment.

  • avatar

    I think it is safe to say Toyota is asleep at the switch. While other automakers are actually improving their cars, Toyota is resting on its laurels, letting its reputation carry it. How long will THAT last? Ask Rick and Fritz.

  • avatar

    Toyota is suffering from Lumbering Giant Syndrome.

  • avatar

    I think you buried the lead. The bigger deal is what you said: how great compact cars are getting, safety-wise. 5 stars for the Mazda 3? The previous EuroNCAP and IIHS side impact test was the reason I didn’t buy a last-gen Mazda 3 and went Impreza instead. It may not be a looker anymore, but the 3 hatch should be my next car.

  • avatar

    It failed the Pole Side Impact Test? How did it do against Germans, Brits, and Spaniards?

  • avatar

    I presume Peter Mertens, Global Vehicle Line Executive for Compact Cars submitted vehicles with the plates that tie the “B” pillar into the roof and floor because with out them the Cruze fails, fails, fails.
    Our man Pete states, in so many words, in the “Chevrolet Launches Cruze” article on page 11 and 12 of the December 2008 issue of “Automotive Engineering,” he would not piss away $3 and 2 pounds on a vehicle just to save lives unless the law held a gun to his head and it couldn’t be avoided.
    Except for cars certified built to U.S. safety standards, it’s prudent to peel back the headliner and floor mats to see if Petey saved $3 by not properly securing the “B” pillar.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    the Urban Cruiser offers a lot less safety than you might expect in an SUV.
    Beg pardon? Since when are SUVs notably safe?

  • avatar

    Maybe the difference in results of the in-house Toyota crash test and the NCAP test is due to an incompatible floor mat causing the car to accelerate into the pole?

  • avatar

    Wait… the Spark passed?
    The Spark… actually… passed?
    The car that formerly got zero stars (improved to two) on the EuroNCAP test now gets four?
    Funny… Hell doesn’t seem to have frozen over… it’s not raining frogs… and I haven’t mysteriously grown a second head overnight…
    GM has finally engineered a small car… not just cobbled it together…
    Still wouldn’t buy one.

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