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IT'S a myth that your kids will be safer if you transport them in the biggest chunk of metal.

The safety benefits of a heavy shell are often outweighed by other factors. If a large car hits a wall, there's more energy to disperse and more chance you will get hurt.

Conscious of this, manufacturers have been working to beef up the safety records of people carriers.

Three of the new ones launched this year - Citroen's C8, Fiat's Ulysse and Peugeot's 807 - have achieved five-star ratings in the latest Euro NCAP crash test ratings. Previously, the only top scorers were smaller models like the Renault Laguna and Megane.

The new ratings reflect better safety all round. For example, the C7 now has six airbags, three-point belts all round plus ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution for minimum stopping distances.

Citroen dominate the UK's MPV sector. Fiat have been in the doldrums but are showing signs of recovery, particularly with bright new models like the Ulysse. The sleek people mover got top marks in the Euro NCAP trials thanks to its six airbags, which protect passengers in all three rows of seats.

In an accident, the doors unlock, the fuel system is shut off and the hazard lights come on.

Peugeot's giant 807 people carrier - launched last year - was the first people carrier with curtain airbags to protect all passengers.

Standard active safety features on the new model include an electronic safety programme, brake force distribution and brake assist.

Prices start at pounds 15,995 for the Fiat, pounds 16,295 for the Citroen and pounds 18,285 for the larger Peugeot.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:May 11, 2003
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