Mercedes Citan fails to MacGyver on safety
The Mercedes Citan Kombi/Traveliner people carrier has achieved a Euro NCAP safety rating of just three stars, the poorest result for the company since the launch of the two-star C-Class of 1997. Basically a 2008 Renault Kangoo with a restyled front, Mercedes-Benz badge and grille, the Citan is a surprising vehicle for a company with such a strong reputation for safety.
The vehicle sells for around £3,000 more than the equivalent Kangoo, but offers no more Mercedes know-how in terms of safety technology. To promote the vehicle, Mercedes brought super-inventive secret agent MacGyver out of retirement for a one-off Citan-based short movie. The mullet-maned troubleshooter was famous for creating life-saving inventions out of random objects, but the Kangoo-Citan conversion lacks Mac and Merc’s trademark ingenuity.
Euro NCAP’s test report draws particular attention to an issue with the side curtain airbag: “The airbag did not deploy as intended, getting caught on the upper seat belt anchorage point, and the car was penalised. The same thing happened with the curtain airbag in the side pole test,” the report said.
Mercedes has indicated that they will fix this, but gaps also appeared between the B-pillar and the front edge of the sliding door during the crash test. Other shortcomings were also revealed in the assessment: whiplash protection was below average and a seatbelt reminder was only fitted to the driver’s seat. These are omissions that Mercedes would not allow on vehicles developed in-house.
Euro NCAP’s Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen said: “We’re disappointed that a company with such a strong tradition of safety as Daimler would take an old model and basically do nothing to make sure that its safety is up to date. With a little bit more invention, they could have improved the restraint systems. They just haven’t spent the money. We know that Mercedes-Benz can do much better.”
Interview with Michiel van Ratingen of Euro NCAP
Is this the first time that Mercedes has scored just three stars?
You have to go back to the C-Class of 1997, which received two stars, to find a worse score for a Mercedes-Benz. Up until now, the company’s vehicles had achieved a near-perfect record of five-star safety ratings for eight years, with just one four-star rating, the Viano people carrier of 2008.
Why does the Citan deserve only three stars?
The real problem with the Citan is its mediocre adult occupant and pedestrian protection. These days weak and marginal chest protection is uncommon. The Citan has a curtain airbag and with a little bit more invention they could have improved the protection. Mercedes has rebadged and restyled an old Renault platform without investing in the safety.
How frustrating is this for Euro NCAP?
We’re disappointed that a company such as Daimler, with such a strong tradition of safety, would take an old model and basically do nothing to make sure that its safety is up to date. We know that Mercedes-Benz can do much better.