Subaru Stability Standard

Published: Fri 24 Oct 2008 02:34 PM
Media Information October 24, 2008
Subaru Stability Standard
Subaru has underlined its outstanding safety credentials with confirmation that its entire 2009 New Zealand model range is now equipped with electronic stability control as standard and all models have independent five-star ANCAP crashworthiness ratings.
Over 90 per cent of the Subaru All-Wheel Drive range has been stability-equipped for the past 6 months.
But the addition of electronic stability control (Subaru call this Vehicle Dynamics Control or VDC) to all 2009 models now provides 100 per cent coverage.
Combined with independent five-star crashworthiness ratings for occupant safety from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and fulltime All Wheel Drive on all models, this places Subaru at the forefront of automotive safety in New Zealand.
Importantly, ANCAP’s testing has been conducted on New Zealand specification Subarus. This is important to a new car buyer, because some manufacturers claim a safety rating for a car in New Zealand that is based on European, Japanese or U.S. specifications. However in many instances the vehicle that is sold in New Zealand may not have the same safety equipment as the vehicle tested overseas.
Subaru of New Zealand Managing Director, Graeme Woodlands, said: “Safety has long been a key aspect of Subaru’s reputation. With the release of our 2009 Legacy and Outback models, our entire range is now VDC stability control equipped and five-star safety rated, which is clear proof of our safety commitment.
“Our engineers have placed us well ahead of any mandatory Government legislation regarding stability control.”
“This demonstrates Subaru’s commitment to occupant safety and a proactive approach to safety generally.”
ANCAP is backed by the New Zealand Automobile Association, Land Transport New Zealand and motoring organizations and statutory transport bodies across the Tasman.
Its ratings are recognized by equivalent organizations in the U.S.A., Europe, Japan and Korea, where crash testing is also performed and results shared with ANCAP.
Vehicles undergo three types of crash testing:
• A side impact at 50 kilometres per hour
• An offset crash test into a barrier at 64 km/h
• An optional side crash into a pole at 29 km/h
Subaru’s safety timeline:
2000: VDC stability control introduced on Legacy Limited wagon and Outback H6.
2003: Subaru’s five-star ANCAP success began when it was announced that the Forester XS Limited had achieved the best-ever occupant safety crashworthiness test rating for a compact four-wheel drive – five stars. The rating was unprecedented in the history of ANCAP. It meant the Forester variant was officially ranked as the safest in its class. It was also the first time any Japanese-built car achieved a five-star ANCAP rating.
March 2004: ANCAP announced that every Legacy and Outback model ranked five stars for occupant safety in crashworthiness testing.
February 2005: Legacy 3.0R and Outback 3.0R Limited win the Safety category at AA Motoring Excellence Awards.
September 2005: ANCAP announced that the five-star result had been extended to every Forester variant, after Subaru made side airbags, in addition to existing dual front airbags, standard across the range.
October 2006: Tribeca achieved a five-star crashworthiness rating for occupant safety from launch.
August 2007: New generation Impreza’s five-star ANCAP crashworthiness rating for occupant safety elevated Subaru to the only brand with five-star ratings for local specification cars across its entire range, plus a top four-star pedestrian rating for Impreza.
February 2008: Impreza 2.0R wins Safest Car at AA Motoring Excellence Awards.
February 2008: Every new generation Forester receives a five-star ANCAP rating (and three out of four-star pedestrian rating), building on the high standard set by its predecessor. Forester becomes the safest ANCAP rated SUV available in New Zealand.
October 2008: Already totally five-star ANCAP rated, the entire 2009 Subaru range becomes VDC stability control-equipped.
Subaru active safety
Active safety systems shared by all Subarus include:
Fulltime All-Wheel Drive - providing constant drive to all four wheels, aiding balance and control.
Anti lock brakes (ABS) - Subaru uses an ultra-reliable four-sensor/four-channel/three phase ABS. This means when brakes are applied on a slippery road, each of the four sensors – one per wheel – monitor wheel speed and transmit the information to a computer. It then calculates which wheel is starting to lock and controls the braking force. This provides extremely stable braking. Benefits include the ability to steer around traffic hazards when braking, without fear of “locking up” and losing control. The system has been tuned specially for New Zealand roads, reducing stopping distances on gravel surfaces. The brakes also have what is known as a cross-linked dual channel system. Therefore, if one channel fails, braking is retained on at least one front and one rear wheel – one left and one right, aiding balance. Subaru also puts its brake piping inside the floor panels – reducing the risk of damage or corrosion.
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) - improves rear wheel braking in response to load shifting caused by deceleration.
Vehicle Dynamics Control - The electronic control unit (ECU) uses information from sensors tracking wheel speed, steering position, front/back and lateral (sideways) G force, and yaw rate to monitor forces that could destabilize vehicle running. In extreme situations, such as when swerving, side slipping or entering a spin, VDC activates to control each wheel individually, via braking, engine output, and the All-Wheel Drive system. This improves stability by using the car’s most stable wheels. In cases of extreme oversteer, VDC activates, applying brakes to the front and rear outside turning wheels, producing yaw – a force that opposes the oversteering tendency. With understeer, VDC applies brakes to the inside rear wheels to counteract the effect. Both the VDC and ABS Anti-Lock Braking systems are controlled from the one digital ECU. VDC is designed for a “driver’s vehicle.” In normal conditions it is purely a monitoring system, and applies no control. But near the car’s performance limits it gives the driver more control – resulting in safer and more comfortable driving.
Subaru passive safety
Passive safety features shared by the entire Subaru range include:
Ring-shaped reinforcements – a grid of reinforced metal that surrounds the passenger cabin, forming a high strength safety cell. It results in greater body rigidity and minimum distortion on impact.
Dual front, side and curtain SRS airbags – They operate in conjunction with the front seatbelts to ensure maximum occupant protection. During a frontal collision, sensors measure the severity and angle of impact. The SRS computer determines if airbag inflation is necessary, then triggers if applicable. This occurs in about 30 milliseconds to cushion and absorb the forward momentum of occupants, preventing the head from striking the dash or steering wheel.
Front seatbelt pretensioners - used to quickly tighten the belt on impact and remove any slack between the belt and body. This combines with a variable load limiter to improve protection in the event of an offset crash. This works by simultaneously tightening both the lap and sash of the belt when the front airbags deploy, reducing the “submarining” effect of the occupant in a collision.
Automatic Emergency Locking Retractors (A/ELR) - All rear seatbelts feature A/ELR. When fully extended, the belts ratchet back into position for more positive securing of child safety seats. The ratchet is cancelled when the seatbelt is fully retracted. Centre rear seatbelts are all lap/sash, for added back seat safety.
Engine impact limitation - In a heavy frontal collision, Subaru’s flat horizontally opposed boxer engines are designed to go under the passenger cabin, rather than into it.
Steering wheel impact minimization - in a collision, a support beam inhibits the rearward movement of the steering wheel. The steering column is designed to collapse on impact, again to minimize transmission of shock energy to the driver.
Reinforced door beams and strengthened side frames - provide extra protection in a side collision. A secondary benefit of the high strength body is that it also provides a solid base frame for suspension; ensuring body flex does not affect vehicle stability.
Safety pedals - Safety pedals reduce injury to the driver’s lower legs in a heavy frontal collision. They are design to retract and move down.

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