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Ford and Fiat’s new cars blasted by Euro NCAP for safety failings

Ford and Fiat’s new cars blasted by Euro NCAP for safety failings

New cars from Ford and Fiat have been slated by the European New Car Assessment programme for their performance in crash tests.  

Fiat’s ageing 500 and Ford’s new Ka+ each scored three out of five stars in Euro NCAP’s latest round of crash test results.  

Publication of the results for the two models coincided with those for the Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery and Toyota C-HR each notching the top five stars and the Citroen C3 four stars.  

Euro NCAP said the Audi Q5 and Toyota C-HR showed good all-round performance in all areas of assessment to earn their five-star ratings. However, while the Land Rover Discovery scored “highly enough” to merit a five-star rating, it was not without problems, said Euro NCAP.  

In the frontal offset crash test, the driver airbag bottomed out owing to insufficient pressure and, in the side barrier test, the driver’s door became unlatched.  

Euro NCAP’s secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “Jaguar Land Rover has an ambitious programme of new model releases in the coming years. We hope that this challenging schedule and tight development times do not compromise the safety of the vehicles offered, and we hope that they will take our findings onboard”.

Meanwhile, superminis are extremely popular in the UK and across European new car market and the segment is very price-sensitive.  

To deliver attractive yet affordable cars, manufacturers were tempted to cut down on safety equipment, emphasising great looks and style instead, according to Euro NCAP.  

In the case of the Fiat 500 and the Ford Ka+ they lacked rear seatbelt pretensioners and load-limiters, which by now standard on most cars on the market.  

In the full-width frontal crash test, introduced in 2015, the Fiat 500 showed poor protection of both the driver and the rear seat passenger. In the Ka+, chest protection was rated as poor. Both cars also lacked autonomous braking technology, already offered on half of new models today.  

However, the Citroën C3 performed much more robustly, said Euro NCAP narrowly missing a top five-star rating, falling only just short of the threshold in pedestrian protection.  

Mr van Ratingen said: “The Fiat 500 is an old car by now and the small improvements that Fiat has made on the facelift don’t hide that. Consumers may be better off waiting for the all-new 500 and hope that Fiat will take the opportunity to offer a vehicle that competes on safety with its competitors, as the original did 10 years ago.  

“Unfortunately, high hopes for the segment are smashed by Ford by releasing a brand new Ka+ with mediocre safety performance. The car lacks the more sophisticated restraint systems offered by most of its rivals, let alone more sophisticated technology like autonomous braking. The new C3 shows that a respectful rating is achievable also for superminis.”