Euro NCAP Renault MeganeEuro NCAP has released details of its latest tests with the big surprise that Renault’s ageing Megane has been downgraded from a full five-star result to just three stars – making it one of the worst-performing small family hatchbacks on sale in Western Europe.

The result will be a big shock to Renault, which for years has prided itself on its five-star Euro NCAP performance – even down to producing window stickers when it gets a five-star performance.

These will have to be removed from latest 2014 versions of the Megane, which has been tested according to the latest tougher protocol and found wanting.

Actual adult and child occupant protection still isn’t bad in the Megane, and it’s reasonable for pedestrian safety too, given the standard of most of its rivals (its facelifted nose would have helped here). It’s failings in the safety assist systems that let it down – the car scores just 48% in this category.

There is one specific failing that Euro NCAP points out: it reports that the car uses text to tell the driver about the state of rear passenger seatbelt status: remarkably, it’s not available in all languages and so, rightly, fails Euro NCAP’s assessment.

“Renault intends to address this issue very soon,” reports Euro NCAP, which adds that there’s still hope for the Megane: “With a compliant system, the Megane Hatch would have been rated as four stars overall.”

Still not as good as the previous five-star rating, though…

Five stars for VW, four for Ford, three stars for MG

Euro NCAP MG3In other Euro NCAP crash test news, there were no surprises with the Volkswagen Golf SV: it scored a full five-star ranking. The Ford Tourneo Courier scored four stars, which is a reasonable result for a van-derived people carrier.

It was just three stars for the MG3, though. It scored a middling 69% for adult occupant and 71% for child occupant protection, and 59% for pedestrian protection.

Again, it was safety assist that was its big undoing, with a meagre score of just 38%. ESC is, admirably, standard on all models, as is a seatbelt reminder system (albeit only for front-seat passengers). However, it does not offer lane support, speed assistance or autonomous braking: as they’re vital areas of active safety differentiation, the MG was inevitably scored down in this area.

In other tests, the Peugeot 301 and Citroen C-Elysse both scored three stars. They’re not cars sold in the UK and are aimed at emerging overseas markets: the results worryingly suggest that safety demands there are considered not as high as in Western Europe.