General Motors (GM) reports that its two newest Chevrolet models, the mid-sized Cruze and the smaller Spark, have performed well in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests. The Cruze was awarded the top five-star rating, while the Spark was awarded four stars; it reportedly scored 69 points out of a possible hundred in the tests, leaving it just one point short of winning a fifth star.
The Cruze was the first car subjected to the Euro CAP tests to score maximum points on both the frontal offset collision and side impact tests. The company attributed the good results in part to extensive use of high-strength steels in the Cruze's body structure, and also pointed to the active safety systems fitted to the car such as electronic stability control and electronic brake-force distribution.
The Cruze and the Spark are the latest models from the former Korean Daewoo operations whose products have been sold in Europe with Chevrolet badges since a GM takeover a few years ago. If GM had gone ahead with its divestment of Opel and Vauxhall, the Cruze and the Spark would have been been of central importance to GM in its efforts to maintain or improve its position in Europe; now the relative positioning of Opel/Vauxhall and Chevrolet, which to some extent occupy the same market territory, will probably have to be looked at afresh.
The Cruze, a sister car of the new Vaxhall Astra (which also received a five-star Euro NCAP rating in these latest results), has generally been well received, although it has been held back by the fact that initially at least it has only been available as a saloon, rather than with the hatchback body style favoured by European buyers.
The Spark goes on sale next year; full details and driving impressions will appear in the Independent's online Motoring section next week.