Published on Tuesday 09 April 2013 in Van News
Since it launched in 1997, Euro NCAP has become a household name for its safety testing of passenger vehicles. Now it's started to shake up safety standards in commercial vehicles. It tested vans for the first time late last year, and began assessing pick-ups back in 2008.
Most manufacturers see EURO NCAP safety testing as an opportunity to show how they can improve their vehicles and the organisation's experience so far has been that manufacturers will improve rapidly, both in terms of performance and fitment of equipment in their vans.
Mercedes Sprinter is no exception to this rule. In fact, the great news for van drivers is that Mercedes is introducing safety features on vans which don't even feature on passenger cars!
The crosswind stability programme for the new Mercedes Sprinter is set to arrive at the end of the year. 'Crosswind Assist' is a clever extension of the capabilities of the Electronic Stability Programme. It addresses the poor stability of high sided vans in high winds.
In testing of the Crosswind Assist, the Mercedes Sprinter was driven past a bank of industrial fans that generated a 40kmh crosswind, with the Crosswind Assist switched off. The sudden gust moved the van across at least half a lane when driven by at 100kmh. With the system engaged, the same test conditions saw the Mercedes Sprinter depart from a straight line by just a foot or so.
So, Crosswind Assist looks set to keep Mercedes Sprinter drivers on track when it arrives later this year.