Mitsubishi became a champion of economies of scale when it joined the Renault-Nissan alliance in 2016, but the merger triggered at least one undesirable side effect. The Express, a badge-engineered version of the Renault Trafic van, received a zero-star crash test rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
Released in Australia and in New Zealand in 2020, the Express was damned by the safety watchdog for lacking chest protection, a central airbag to prevent the occupants from hitting each other and an airbag for the passenger sitting in the middle of the three-person bench. ANCAP also noted the model is not available with electronic driving aids, like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection and lane-keeping assist.
Consequently, the Express scored 55% for adult occupant protection, 40% for vulnerable road user protection, and 7% for safety assist. ANCAP argued the Express is a safety hazard even to motorists not traveling in it. "The front structure of the Express presented a high risk to the occupants of an oncoming vehicle," it wrote, adding that this gave the van a penalty. It pointed out that more driving aids would have increased the rating, however.
While vans often lag behind in the safety department, scoring zero stars is highly unusual, especially in 2021; the last-generation Express managed to score a one-star rating in 2011. The Toyota HiAce tested in 2019 received a five-star rating, while the made-in-China LDV G10 managed to score three stars in a 2015 crash test. In Europe, the Trafic that the Express is based on earned a three-star rating in 2015, though tests have gotten stricter since.