Vehicles aren’t created equal, and size isn’t a guarantee of escaping a collision without injuries. The Mitsubishi Express is a full-size van, and 2020 marked the return of the Express moniker to Australia and New Zealand. As such, The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) took a deep dive into its crashworthiness, and the numbers aren’t good. In fact, they aren’t anything, but don’t point fingers at Mitsubishi. More on that in a bit.
ANCAP’s official rating for the Express is indeed a big goose egg. Its zero-star performance is based on numerous factors lumped into four groups, including Adult Occupant Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Vulnerable Road User Protection, and Safety Assist. Of them all, Adult Occupant Protection returned the highest percentage but it was still just 55 percent. The lowest was Safety Assist with only a seven percent score. Vulnerable Road User Protection scored 40 percent, and since the Express is a work vehicle, Child Occupant Protection wasn’t factored into the final tally.
Taking a deeper dive, ANCAP says the Express ranked marginal in many crash tests for occupants, with a notable risk of serious chest injuries to the driver in three out of four destructive tests. The worst of the bunch was the far-side impact test, which earned zero points out of a possible four. Similarly, whiplash protection earned just 0.5 out of four. The best-performing collision metric for occupants was the full-width frontal impact, earning nearly a full score with 7.02 out of eight. Still, with a zero-star overall rating, ANCAP says the van won’t be eligible for purchase by many fleet and commercial buyers.
Here’s where it’s not Mitsubishi’s fault. The Express is actually a rebadged Renault Traffic, with the current-generation having gone on sale for the 2015 model year. Curiously, Euro NCAP tested the Traffic in 2015 and gave it a three-star rating out of five. Adult occupant protection was similarly rated at 52 percent, but pedestrian protection was notably higher at 53 percent. Safety systems were rated far higher than ANCAP at 57 percent, but that was six years ago and safety tech has evolved significantly since then.