Braking point

Our first independent AEB test program reveals hits and misses from the 2017 COTY field

TOBY HAGON

Our fi rst independent AEB test program reveals hits and misses from the 2017 COTY fi eld

MAZDA’S CX-9 was one of the standouts in Wheels’ inaugural autonomous emergency brake (AEB) testing for COTY 2017.

Priced from $42,390, the seven-seat SUV shone in the most comprehensive independent test of its type in Australia of what is an increasingly relevant safety feature.

As first reported last month, the tests were conducted in conjunction with Insurance Australia Group’s (IAG) research department, and involved driving towards the two custom target vehicles at speeds of 10, 20 and 25km/h.

The AEB testing was introduced to COTY in 2017 as an evolution of Wheels’ long history in independently verifying active safety systems, from ABS to ESC.

The CX-9 achieved a perfect score against the two target vehicles – a mid-sized sedan and a high-riding 4x4 ute – and was the only car of the 28-strong COTY field with auto braking in reverse, potentially helping it avoid collisions with pedestrians and objects when backing up.

As one of the most affordable vehicles on the market with AEB standard on all models, the CX-9 was praised by judges for raising safety standards in the large SUV category that’s popular with families.

The CX-9 wasn’t alone in performing well in the groundbreaking AEB tests, which featured a ute target vehicle for the first time anywhere in the world.

Seven manufacturers provided models that successfully aced all six disciplines. These were Mercedes-Benz (with the C-Class

Coupe, GLC and E-Class), Audi, Holden, Infiniti, Skoda, Subaru and Volvo.

Despite the increased provision of AEB on many mainstream vehicles, some of the most advanced COTY contenders were not even fitted with the system (see list below table, right.)

In a year when Toyota’s Hilux topped the sales charts – the first time a ute has achieved the feat – Wheels’ exclusive testing revealed there were potential concerns with some systems reacting to the unique rear-end design of pick-up trucks, which are similar to SUVs.

AEB systems from BMW, Jaguar and Volkswagen successfully detected the Camry target vehicle, but did not consistently detect the Navara ute (see results panel right.)

COTY AEB TEST RESULTS

Mid-sized sedan target vehicle Ute target vehicle Car 10km/h 20km/h 25km/h 10km/h 20km/h 25km/h Audi A4/Allroad . . . . . .

BMW M2 . . . . Not tested Not tested Holden Astra . . . . . .

Infiniti Q30/QX30 . . . . . .

Jaguar XF . . . . Not tested Not tested Jaguar F-Pace . . . . . Not tested Mazda CX-9 . . . . . .

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe . . . . . .

Mercedes-Benz GLC . . . . . .

Mercedes-Benz E-Class . . . . . .

Mini Clubman . . Not tested . Not tested Not tested Skoda Superb . . . . . .

Subaru Impreza . . . . . .

Volkswagen Tiguan . . . . Not tested Not tested Volvo S90 . . . . . .

The following COTY contenders are not fitted with AEB and were therefore not tested: Abarth 124 Spider, Audi R8, Citroen C4 Cactus, Ford Mustang, Holden Spark, Honda Civic and NSX, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Sportage, Porsche 718 Boxster, Renault Megane and Koleos, Toyota Prius