Like other carmakers, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) aims to provide mobility with zero traffic accidents. In pursuit of this goal, it is fully committed to developing and implementing active and passive safety technologies and protection, even with its small kei-class cars.
Demonstrating its efforts in this aspect are the scores achieved by the eK X and eK Wagon in the latest assessments by the Japan New Car Assessment Program (JNCAP). Both models have been awarded the highest rating with the highest ‘ASV+++’ rating. ‘ASV’ refers to ‘Advanced Safety Vehicle’, as defined by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The top rating was in preventive safety performance and the maximum 5-star rating in collision safety performance.
Driver assistance tech
The eK X and eK Wagon come equipped with driver assistance technology which encompasses preventive safety measures to support the drivers in avoiding collisions, or mitigate the collision damage.
These include Lane Departure Warning (LDW) which alerts the driver with a warning buzzer and information screen display when the vehicle is about to stray from its lane, while Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) assists the driver in moving the vehicle back to its lane.
The Emergency Assist for Pedal Misapplication installed in both kei cars prevents sudden acceleration by unintentional operation of shift lever or pedal. A Multi Around Monitor gives the driver a good view of the surroundings when parking so that hazards or small children can be spotted.
In addition, the built-in Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) autonomous emergency braking system which detects pedestrians and vehicles ahead, and Automatic High Beam (AHB) which switches between high beam and low beam automatically contribute to safer motoring.
The eK X and eK Wagon, which are structurally similar, have high levels of collision safety performance built in, thanks to the company’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) bodywork. It combines collision energy absorbing front body design with a deformation-resistant passenger compartment, as well as 6 SRS airbags for frontal and side protection.
The kei cars are designed to further improve the pedestrian safety with an energy-absorbing in the bonnet to protect the head area of pedestrians. A structure inside the bumper is specially designed to reduce injuries to the legs of pedestrians in the event of a collision.
It may seem like the safety systems are nothing new but the important point is that they are now being offered in kei-class cars, which are the smallest and cheapest in the market. Historically, such cars were equipped in a basic manner but with consumers expecting better protection, manufacturers have to make them safer as well.
Car of the Year winners
Launched into the Japanese market in March last year, the eK X and eK Wagon were winners in the Car of the Year Japan 2019-2020 in Small Mobility category. Additionally, the models were also selected as the RJC Car of the Year 2020.