THE new Holden Commodore imported from Germany has been awarded five stars for safety by crash test experts - but its smaller size meant it scored worse than the old Commodore in one key area.
In most criteria the new Commodore performed the same or better than the Australian-made car which went out of production in October 2017 - and has crash avoidance technology the locally-made car never had, such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance - however the risk of the driver suffering a lower leg injury in a crash is slightly higher.
According to the detailed analysis, the Australian-made Commodore tested in 2013 scored 3.11 points out of 4 for the driver's lower leg protection in an offset frontal crash at 64km/h, versus 2.89 out of 4 for the new Commodore.
Protection in that particular area was listed as "adequate" rather than "good" on the score sheet. The front seat passenger's lower leg protection earned 4 out of 4.
The latest results were derived from European crash tests of the left-hand-drive German equivalent of the Commodore, sold there as an Opel.
In the past there have been instances where left-hand-drive cars have performed differently to right-hand-drive cars in crash tests.
Of the 600 crash ratings published by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), about one third of the results are derived from European tests of left-hand-drive cars.
However, the safety body occasionally tests right-hand-drive versions of the same cars as part of its auditing process.
The imported 'Commodores' used in this round of crash tests were not only left-hand-drive but they had small four-cylinder engines under the bonnet.
Imported Commodores sold locally will also be available with a larger V6 engine.
It is unknown what effect the bulkier V6 engine has on crash test performance.
However, the V6 versions of the new Commodore were also awarded five stars for safety by ANCAP after Holden supplied internal data to the crash test authority.
The head of the peak automotive safety body in Australia, James Goodwin, said: "ANCAP reserves the right to - and regularly conducts - audit tests when it relies on overseas crash data or manufacturer claims".
This series of crash tests were done in Europe in 2017 but the results were not released in Australia until February 2018, to coincide with the launch of the car.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling