The Serena suffered massive intrusion into the footwell and cabin. The front wheel was pushed back into the driver's footwell while the facia and steering wheel were pushed upwards, reducing the driver's survival space to a worrying extent. What's more, the slide mechanism on the front passenger seat failed, allowing it to move forward during the impact. And, because the belt buckle is attached to the seat rather than directly to the cabin floor, this failure was even more alarming. Nissan says it is investigating why this happened and how it can improve future designs.
The passenger compartment collapsed around the driver. The pillar supporting the door hinges was torn from the sill and was no longer held at its lower end. However, the driver's airbag protected his head and chest from serious injury. But there was also excessive pedal displacement posing a threat of serious feet and ankle injuries. The area where the driver's knees struck needed improvement, too. Euro NCAP was also very concerned by the way the front passenger seat slid forward on its runners during the crash. Finally, the centre rear seat is fitted with only a static lap belt, which offers much less crash protection than a full three-point harness would.
Like most vehicles of this type, the driver sits substantially above where a normal-size car would strike in side impact, and this lessens the risk of him sustaining serious injuries. As a result the Serena gave its driver excellent protection, gaining maximum points in this aspect of the test, in stark contrast to its performance in the frontal and one which improved its overall crash rating considerably.
The Serena has rear belts fitted to the mid-row outer seats which can be locked to retain a child seat in place. This feature was poorly labelled, but Nissan says it intends to improve this in line with Euro NCAP's recommendations. Neither child seat was compatible with the adult belt buckles and in an accident these are placed under stress and could fail. The three-year-old's head motion was excessive in the frontal impact and his head was inadequately protected in the side impact.
Although the pedestrian rating was not good, the bumper was more forgiving to pedestrians than most other cars tested here. As a result, the Serena proved one of the better performers in this test.