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
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.”