Airbags are vital to passenger safety, which is why, for many of us, they are ubiquitous. They do a fantastic job keeping our soft, meaty selves from colliding with the hard surfaces of a car’s interior. But not everywhere are airbags mandated by law. There are plenty of places where airbags are optional, or just not offered, and sold in some of those places is the Mitsubishi L200 pickup truck.
The Latin NCAP recently crash-tested the Mitsubishi, and the results were frightening. Without airbags, passengers collide with the truck’s hard interior – especially the driver whose head collides with the steering wheel. If the passenger were closer to the dash, the dummy would have hit it, causing considerable injuries. The Latin NCAP gave the truck zero stars for adult occupant safety and two stars for child safety.
The Latin NCAP’s report does not hold back in criticising the automaker, saying, “... Child Occupant Protection does not appear to be a priority for this manufacturer,” and it is “unacceptable for Mitsubishi and some Mitsubishi importers in Latin America to be offering the L200 with zero-star safety levels.” Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Latin NCAP, called the L200’s results “appalling.”
According to Latin NCAP, Mitsubishi will increase the truck’s standard level of equipment to include driver and passenger front airbags along with passenger seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters. However, the updated model won’t reach dealerships until April 2020, and even then, it still lacks the necessary equipment to receive just two stars in Latin NCAP’s 2020 protocols. Electronic stability control, side-head protection, and pedestrian protection are also needed.
Organisations around the world are working to improve car safety. Recently, the Global NCAP and Automobile Association South Africa partnered to test the Nissan NP300 Hardbody, another pickup. The Nissan included airbags but still received a zero-star crash test rating. The truck lacked an adequate safety structure, with the passenger compartment crumpling violently. Airbags are but one part of an overall safe vehicle. That’s why airbags won’t be enough for the L200 to meet Latin NCAP’s 2020 standards.