This Is What A Zero-Star Worthy Crash Test Looks Like

Illustration for article titled This Is What A Zero-Star Worthy Crash Test Looks Like
Photo: Latin NCAP

It’s fairly rare for a car to score a whopping zero start in a crash test here in the 21st century. We’ve worked pretty damn hard to make sure that even the cheapest, shittiest machines still have something holding them together and keeping the folks inside safe. Not so with the Ford Ka. Buckle up, buds, because we’re about to see what makes a zero-star crash test so bad.


If you haven’t heard of the Ka before, you can be forgiven. It’s a teeny little subcompact that, for a while, was only available in Brazil but has since expanded to be sold in India, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, and Europe. It’s the second-best selling car in Brazil after the Hyundai HB20, but the Latin New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has a hell of a lot to say about it—and none of it particularly good.

I’ll let you just have a look at what we’re talking about here:

There are… a lot of problems with the Ka. It doesn’t handle particularly well, it’s pretty slow, and it isn’t outfitted with the kind of safety features that would make you feel safe driving it around. Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • 34 percent adult protection (yes, that’s out of 100%)
  • Nine percent child occupant protection
  • 50 percent pedestrian protection
  • Seven percent safety features

You can read the full results from the Latin NCAP test here.

What that all means is, basically, that the Ka doesn’t have a lot of safety features, so if you’re behind the wheel—or a passenger—you’re in danger. There are, essentially, no side airbags. There aren’t any special protective measures for children. If the Ka gets in a crash, you’re probably going to get whiplash at the very best.

And, as you can likely tell from the video, the fact that it just, uh, disintegrates isn’t all that promising, either.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.



Hmmm. Perhaps I’m too laissez faire, and certainly the actual sensors involved may show a more serious outcome for vehicle occupants, but superficially, those crash tests don’t look nearly as bad as plenty of others I’ve seen. Having lived most of my life driving vehicles *without* side airbags, it’s not as if I consider side airbags the automatic baseline for safety.

Did the crumple zones crumple?  Did the seats stay bolted to the floors?  Did the occupants not get sliced in half by a detatched engine block?  If the answer’s yes, congratulations, you’re alive.  This is a small cheapo economy car, not an armored personnel carrier.