The Signum’s strong body and multi-stage dual frontal airbags provided a safe environment for its occupants. However, the driver experienced relatively high chest loads, more so than his front passenger. He also risked knee and leg injuries from hitting hard points behind the fascia. The children were protected by restraints that gave a mixed performance. But protection given to pedestrians proved to be dire.
The car’s body performed well, suffering only minimal distortion to its footwell and door aperture and slight vertical displacement of its brake and accelerator pedals. Like its range-mate, the Vectra, the Signum’s pedals are designed to break away in severe impacts, so reducing injuries. But its footwell was not damaged badly enough to trigger this safety feature. The driver and passenger risked knee injuries from striking hard points behind the fascia. The centre rear seat belt was a three-point type that gives far better protection than that of a lap-only belt.
Although a seat-mounted thorax/pelvis side airbag is fitted, forces acting on the driver’s chest were relatively high. Opel’s head-protecting side airbag (curtain) protected the driver well in the side impact and also in the pole test. This ’bag also cushions those sat in the rear.
A pictogram giving safety advice was fixed to the passenger’s end of the fascia. But this did not warn of the dangers of using a rear-facing restraint opposite an airbag. Both children used forward-facing Opel-branded restraints. ISOFIX anchorages are fitted to the outer rear seats but the restraints chosen by Opel did not have ISOFIX mountings but relied on the adult belts to secure them. These protected the younger child, although in the frontal impact he ran some risk of neck injury. But the older child risked chest injuries in the frontal impact and head injuries from the side impact.
Just one site of 18 tested on the car’s front offered any cushioning to a pedestrian. This is a poor performance for a new design. Opel needs to do more to protect this vulnerable group of road users.