The Vaneo is a small MPV based on the A-class, which did well in past Euro NCAP tests. No surprise then that the Vaneo picked up four stars for crash safety. Its body is strong and protects its occupants. However, the driver’s upper torso fared better than his lower body did in the frontal impact. The Vaneo’s high-set seating improves protection in the side impact. Small children were not sufficiently safeguarded in the frontal impact, although protection for their heads in the side impact was better.
The Vaneo’s cabin is strong and survived the impact well. As an indication of this, the driver’s door could still be opened almost as normal afterwards. The Vaneo’s airbags were untethered and not of the more complex dual-stage type that featured in some other cars tested, but they protected the driver’s and front passenger’s heads and necks well. However the airbags and seat belts did less to reduce chest injury. The area where the front occupants’ knees might strike was clear of hazards, although the steering column presented risks. Finally, the centre rear seat had a three-point belt, which is much safer than a lap-only belt.
High-set seats helped keep occupants away from harm. The door-mounted chest and abdomen airbag also reduced injury risks.
Mercedes-branded Romer Duo seats had recognition transponders which ‘tell’ the car when a seat is fitted on the front passenger seat and also indicate which way round it is. The car then turns off its passenger airbag if necessary. Both restraints attached to two-point ISOFIX mountings in the rear seats, but instructions provided with the seats were confusing. Both children’s heads were protected in the frontal impact. But they risked chest and other injuries, particularly the younger child, who could have suffered neck injuries. However the seats worked well in the side impact.
The steeply sloping bonnet helped reduce leg injuries and the large windscreen provided some protection for pedestrians’ heads.