The car tested was fitted with a 1.0-litre engine, replacing the 1.2-litre Corsa model evaluated by Euro NCAP and reported in February 1997. As before, the passenger hit his head on the facia which, in the previous test, had pointed to a risk of serious injury or death. This time the head did not strike as hard but it remained a concern. Unlike the first test, a driver’s head contact also took place. As previously found with GM cars, the labelling on child restraints could be misinterpreted.
The driver’s head rolled off the airbag and struck the facia. The buckle mounted pre-tensioners were found to be ineffective. The driver’s footwell suffered a substantial seam rupture that shows instability. There were hard areas for the knees to hit which would cause high loads on the upper legs as well as provide localised loading, inducing penetrating injuries. A stiff bar at shin level could also cause injuries. There were no deflector plates or padding in the steering column shroud. The centre rear seat had only a two-point static belt, which could cause severe spinal and abdominal injuries.
The driver’s ribs contacted the side wings of the seat and the door trim. There was protective padding for the abdomen but none for the chest. A stiff mounting peg halfway along the door could lead to a high load being placed on the driver’s upper leg.
Vauxhall provided the child seats with shields to prevent a child hitting its head on its knees during a serious frontal impact. Unfortunately, General Motors has been selling restraints with and without shields. However, they say that, from January 2000, only restraints with shields will be available. Labels were also stuck on and were easy to remove. These deficiencies can lead to misuse. In the side impact the side wings were not adequately padded to reduce head injury.
Child and adult head protection rated equally and was average. The lower leg area was safer than most and two of the three points gave some protection.