Popular sport utility vehicles (SUVs) like the Audi Q3, BMW X5 and Hyundai Santa Fe have clinched the maximum five-star rating in the latest round of Euro NCAP safety ratings.
The Euro New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) has a rating system designed to provide consumers a safety comparison among cars, determined through a series of controlled tests.
A one-star rating indicates a car has marginal crash protection, while a five-star rating means the car has overall good performance in crash protection, and is well-equipped with “robust” crash avoidance technology.
The Jaguar I-PACE, Peugeot 508 and Volvo S60 also achieved top marks in Euro NCAP’s safety ratings.
However at the other end of the scale, Fiat’s aging Panda and Jeep’s all-new Wrangler get zero stars and one star respectively.
The Panda was last tested by Euro NCAP in 2011.
“With nothing more than a seatbelt reminder scoring points in Euro NCAP’s Safety Assist box, the vehicle fails to reach even a single star, a dubious distinction matched only by the Punto in 2017,” Euro NCAP said of the Fiat Panda in a scathing press statement.
The safety agency also pulled no punches with the new-to-market 2018 Jeep Wrangler.
“With a seatbelt reminder and a simple driver-set speed limiter but no other form of driver-assistance system, the Wrangler clears the one-star threshold but lags far behind its competitors,” the safety agency said.
It is “truly disappointing” to see a brand-new car being put on sale in 2018 with “no autonomous braking system and no lane assistance”, lamented Euro NCAP’s secretary-general Michiel van Ratingen.
“It is high time we saw a product from the Fiat-Chrysler group offering safety to rival its competitors,” Mr van Ratingen said.
Not all five-star vehicles escaped scot-free, however. Tests on the Hyundai Santa Fe highlighted a problem where the side curtain airbags of cars equipped with a panoramic roof could be torn during deployment.
Hyundai has already changed the airbag fixings in production and early cars are subject to an official recall, Euro NCAP said.
Owners of such vehicles will be contacted by the manufacturer and should make sure they take their cars to dealers to be re-worked, Euro NCAP said.
The safety agency also noted that similar to the 5 series in 2017, the BMW X5 suffered from airbag problems, with the driver knee airbag not deploying correctly in the frontal offset test and providing little additional protection to the driver’s legs.
The next Euro NCAP safety ratings will be published on Feb 27, 2019.