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Skoda withdraws pedestrian-friendly pop-up hood on Octavia

Skoda withdraws pedestrian-friendly pop-up hood on Octavia
Tristan Honeywill

Skoda has withdrawn the pedestrian-protecting pop-up hood on its popular Octavia small family car, replacing it with a standard hood. The car retains its five-star Euro NCAP rating, but for models built from May 2013 onwards the protection for pedestrians is lower.

When Euro NCAP tested the Octavia at the start of 2013, Skoda was already considering removing the hood. The company asked the safety organisation to test the car with both the pop-up and standard hood. Both gave Skoda enough points to get five stars (30points/82% vs 24points/66%), but Skoda decided to launch the car with the better-performing hood. Car Safety Rules welcomed the news.

Euro NCAP is disappointed at the U-turn on pedestrian safety: “It’s a shame for real-world safety that they have decided to withdraw the safer hood without even offering it as an option. In our assessments of the two bonnets there was a clear difference in the performance. In real-life there will be more injuries because of the pop-up hood has been removed.”

“It’s a shame for real-world safety that they have decided to withdraw the safer hood without even offering it as an option”

Safety engineers at Skoda must be disappointed too. A system like this takes a lot of late nights and overtime to develop and prepare for production. They must have worked hard to get the pop-up hood onto the car in the first place. Not sure how they work? Watch the video below to see how it lifts to keep the head away from the hard, dangerous top of the engine.

 

 

A Skoda spokesperson said: “This was an internal decision. The standard hood does meet all the safety requirements we need to meet and the car still has a five-star safety rating.”

It seems that the hood is a luxury Skoda cannot afford. If the market in Europe were stronger, I doubt they’d be doing this.

How good is the new hood?

To put this in perspective, the Octavia’s hood is now as good as the one fitted to the VW Golf, which scored just 1% less in Euro NCAP’s assessment. Without the active hood, protection of the head is generally adequate, with good areas towards the centre of the bonnet surface and some poor regions around the windscreen pillars. The protection provided by the bumper to pedestrians’ legs is good but the front edge of the bonnet provided marginal or poor protection to the pelvic area.

Has your car got the active hood?

You need to check your VIN number. VINs before TMBBG7NE8D0040380 have the pop-up hood. If you’re waiting for delivery of a new car, the chances are it won’t have the pop-up hood that was promised at launch.

 

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