Fiat Punto given zero-star rating by safety body

Fiat Punto given zero-star rating by safety body
Fiat Punto given zero-star rating by safety body

Fiat’s ageing Punto has been given a zero-star rating by crash testing authority Euro NCAP – the first in the body’s 20-year history.

The hatchback has not been significantly updated since 2005 and the re-released version of the car was criticised for failing to keep pace with modern safety developments.

Despite the car earning five stars for adult occupant protection in 2005 (when it was badged as the Grande Punto)  testers this time criticised it for crash performance and its lack of any safety assistance technology.

Matthew Avery, director of research of Thatcham Research which carries out testing for Euro NCAP commented: “In 2005 the Fiat Punto achieved a good rating. However, Euro NCAP frequently raises the bar in its testing regime – and the Punto’s adult occupant protection score of 51 per cent is more than 30 per cent below the average for the superminis tested in 2017.

“Yes this is essentially an old car, but that should have sharpened the focus on fitting safety technologies to counteract its dated crash performance.”

Technological demands

“Some [manufacturers] are choosing to prioritise the fitment of technologies to support drivers and bring down accident rates. Others are not”

Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research

The latest round of testing from Euro NCAP also revealed other vehicles that failed to meet the highest five-star standards because of a lack of safety technology. Six cars – the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Dacia Duster, DS 3, Ford C-MAX/Grand C-MAX, MG GS and Vauxhall Viva – were given only three stars because of the lack of assistance technology such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning.

Matthew Avery explained: “Some great strides have been made in car safety this year. 72 per cent of the cars tested achieved a five-star rating, versus 56 per cent in 2016. But December’s test results have shown that some carmakers are choosing not to fit potentially life-saving safety technology as standard, despite an overall trend to the contrary in 2017.

“It’s about decision making – some are choosing to prioritise the fitment of technologies to support drivers and bring down accident rates. Others are not.”

Top performers

The low ratings were revealed at the same time as Thatcham Research announced its longlist for the safest car of the year.

As judges for the What Car? Safety Award Thatcham’s panel of experts have selected the ten cars that offer the best protection and this year have placed an even heavier emphasis on advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that can help avoid or mitigate the impact of crashes.

Models from Volvo, Volkswagen, Honda and Mercedes join Subaru, Toyota and Vauxhall in the list of top performers.

What Car? Safety Award longlist

Honda Civic
Mercedes X-Class
Subaru Impreza
Subaru XV
Toyota C-HR
Vauxhall Insignia
Volvo S90 / V90
Volvo XC60
VW Arteon
VW T-Roc

As well as all being five-star rated cars, the longlisted vehicles all feature AEB with pedestrian detection and lane keep assist systems as standard and have been highlighted for the range of other ADAS that they offer, ranging from rear cross traffic alert to adaptive cruise control.

Matthew Avery, who sits on the What Car? judging panel added: “The future of car safety is in the technology. A five-star Euro NCAP rating guarantees drivers a safe car. But some are still safer than others and this award is about celebrating those carmakers who continue to push the boundaries of safety, going above and beyond even the exacting levels that a five-star Euro NCAP rating demands.

“Drivers buying a new car should expect AEB on their vehicle. It’s now an essential standard-fit safety system, just like the seatbelt. And if the car doesn’t have AEB? Walk away and find one which does. The top ten safest cars of the year all have standard-fit lane keep assist systems which actively steer away from road edges and lane markings. With six per cent of A-road crashes involving head-on collisions, this should be the next life-saving technology fitted by carmakers who want to signal their intent to prioritise driver safety.”

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