Kona cops a safety serve

Riley Riley

Australians have been urged to prioritise safety when they purchase of their next car.

The warning comes after another car maker — this time the South Korean brand Hyundai — failed to score five stars in strict new crash safety tests.

In fact, the new Kona SUV narrowly escaped being awarded a three-star rating.

This is a car that Hyundai heralded in June as “here to set a new small SUV standard, with its futuristic design and spacious and versatile cabin packed with leading-edge technology”.

Car safety is assessed under the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) in conjunction with Euro NCAP and other safety organisations around the world.

ANCAP explains the Kona was limited to four-stars due to its performance in the assessment areas of Vulnerable Road User Protection and Safety Assist, where thresholds of 70 per cent apply to qualify for five-stars.

Before the changes were introduced last year scores of 60 per cent or more were required.

Kona achieved scores of 64 per cent and 62 per cent in these areas respectively, with performance of its autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system assessed as Adequate in tests with pedestrians and cyclists.

A score of less than 60 per cent in any of these categories would have seen Kona demoted to three stars.

The emergency lane keeping (ELK) system fitted to the Kona also showed Adequate performance, including in ELK tests with a motorcycle. Good performance was shown in AEB motorcycle test scenarios.

The previous Kona was rated at five stars.

Hyundai is not the first company to fall foul of the stricter new testing criteria introduced in 2023.

The Chinese MG5 sedan and Indian Mahindra Scorpio SUV scored big fat zeros when tested back in December.

Both models were unable to achieve even one star for safety in terms of physical or active collision protection. 

The last car to be tested in 2023 — the Chinese Chery Tiggo Pro — scored 72 per cent for Vulnerable Road User Protection and an overall five-star rating.

A total of 10 vehicles have so far been tested under the new 2023-2025 criteria.

Seven of them scored five stars, two scored zero and one four.

In other news the recently facelifted Tesla Model 3 will be sold “unrated” in Australia.

Due to changes the previous five-star rating cannot be applied and the car needs to be re-tested. 

As yet Hyundai has not responded to ANCAP’s unexpected four-star rating for Kona. 

We’ll update our story when it does.

Most recent ANCAP results

  Adult Occupant Protection Child Occupant Protection Vulnerable Road User Protection Safety Assist Stars
Hyundai Kona 80 84 64 62 4
Chery Tiggo Pro 88 87 72 86 5
MG5 37 58 42 13 0
Mahindra Scorpio 44 80 23 0 0
Kia EV9 84 87 76 85 5
Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 87 92 80 86 5
BMW 5 Series 89 87 86 81 5
BYD Seal 89 87 82 75 5
BYD Dolphin 89 86 85 77 5
Lexus RZ 87 89 84 84 5



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