Fiat Punto 2017 crash testThe final Euro NCAP safety scores of 2017 are in – and it’s a disappointing end to the year with six cars scoring just three points… and the revised Fiat Punto earning the first-ever ZERO Euro NCAP rating.

There were some full-house five-points scores to offset things, but Euro NCAP reckons it’s still a let-down that so many cars have earned average ratings: often, the reason for the poor scores is simply a decision by car manufacturers not to fit vital safety kit as standard.

The eight cars to score just three stars are:

Some of the cars have been on sale for a few years and have recently been facelifted: Euro NCAP’s retested them to allow consumers to make a fair comparison to new models. 

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “The fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety, and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards.”

Matthew Avery is a director at Thatcham Research, which is the British partner in the Euro NCAP organisation. He picked out the upmarket French DS brand for criticism. In November, the DS 7 Crossback achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating – and came with standard-fit AEB and Lane Departure Warnings.

DS is a premium brand, but Citroen has made a clear decision with the DS 3, offering AEB as an option only.

It comes down to simple decision-making, he said. “Some are choosing to prioritise the fitment of technologies to support drivers and bring down accident rates. Others are not.”

Things should change in 2018, he added: it will be impossible for a car to score a five-star Euro NCAP rating without standard Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).

It wasn’t just the lack of standard AEB that let down the December three-star cars, either. The Ford C-Max not only had little standard safety technology, they also performed below expectations in crash impact testing: both adult and child occupant scores were worse than average, said Avery.

Zero Euro NCAP points

0 stars: Fiat Punto

The latest Fiat Punto is the standard car in the latest tests. It’s a revised version of the model first launched in 2005, and shows just how far car safety technology has progressed: a 51 percent score for adult occupant protection is more than 30 percent worse than average.

The car also earned Euro NCAP’s first-ever 0 percent rating for safety assist technologies. “This is essentially an old car,” said Avery, “but that should have sharpened the focus on fitting safety technologies to counteract it’s dated crash performance.”

The latest test cancels the Fiat’s originally decent rating back in 2005. “Euro NCAP frequently raises the bar in the testing regime,” said Avery: this test strikingly illustrates that.

Five-star Euro NCAP cars

Other cars showed how it should be done, scoring five stars in the December 2017 Euro NCAP tests:

  • BMW 6 Series
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Jaguar F-Pace
  • Kia Stinger
  • Toyota Yaris

Although all 16 cars tested in November 2017 scored five stars, the latest results show that a full Euro NCAP score is not a given. It all comes down to whether car manufacturers fit life-saving technologies as standard, or choose to cut costs by relegating them to the options list – or, in the car of Fiat, not offer them at all…

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