In some places, it is called a Mitsubishi Express, in other places it is the Renault Trafic van. Either way, it scored zero-stars from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program. In case you had to guess, a zero-stars rating is not good. Knowing this would you still drive a Mitsubishi Express?
The Mitsubishi Express also comes with no electronic safety features
The Mitsubishi Express van debuted in both Australia and New Zealand last year. It is pretty stripped down; lacking chest protection, a central airbag, and an airbag for anyone sitting in the middle of the front bench seat. The Express also comes with no electronic safety features. Things like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane assist. Maybe that’s why it is not available in the US?
Head-on collisions pose extra risks
Expressed in percentages, the van got 55% for adult protection, 40% for vulnerable road user protection, and 7% for safety assist. The joke is that the Express van is a safety hazard even to pedestrians. That’s rough!
The big problem, and it has always been somewhat of a problem with forward-control vans and the like, is that head-on collisions pose extra risks. There is less metal surrounding you because you’re up in front and in line with whatever hits you in the front. The ANCAP said, “The front structure of the Express presented a high risk to the occupants of an oncoming vehicle.”
While most vans have scored lower in the ANCAP ratings, none has ever scored zero stars. The previous Express van garnered a one-star rating when it debuted in 2011. You would expect the next generation to do better?
It is more common to have lower scores with vans like the Express
To give you an idea of how some of these other vans did, the Toyota HiAce van got a five-star rating back in 2019. The LDV G10, a Chinese delivery van, received a three-star rating in 2015. So, while it is more common to have lower scores with vans it is not impossible to garner the ANCAP’s highest rating which is a five-star.
So, what should Renault do? Should it do a recall and add strengthening, especially for side protection? How about doing a structural redesign that better reinforces the sides and front? And maybe while it is at it incorporate some safety features into the van. It should show that it has concern for its drivers and passengers by making attempts to fix some glaring problems.
It is an optics issue as well as a safety issue. That’s why Mitsubishi and Renault have to do something pretty soon. With the internet as an easy source of information the zero-stars rating of the Express van will haunt not only this particular model but the company as a whole.