The 2018 Fiat Panda has failed to score a single star in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash testing, making it one of the worst-performing cars ever tested by the safety organisation.
Particularly shocking was its Child Occupant Protection performance, where the Panda scored just 16 percent for kids sat in the rear.
The average rating for new cars is 79 percent.
The Panda failed to score more than 50 percent in any of Euro NCAP’s four car crash tests. It thus takes the dubious honour of being only the second zero-star car ever tested.
The other one was, ironically, also a Fiat: the 2017 Punto.
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research (which carries out Euro NCAP crash testing in the UK), said: “Most troubling is that the Fiat Panda is seen as a good choice for young drivers and fledgling families.
“Where budgets are tight, consider a safer small car second-hand instead.”
Watch: comparing zero star and five star cars
Why did the Fiat Panda score so badly?
The Panda is the victim of tougher standards introduced by Euro NCAP in 2018. It’s an old design, first introduced in 2012, and seems not to have kept pace with safety.
Avery said it was particularly weak in crash avoidance technology. “As the bare minimum, a standard-fit Autonomous Emergency Braking system should be available with the Fiat Panda.
“This is especially important since the car offers so little protection in the event of a collision.”
The only safety technology fitted to the Panda is seatbelt reminders. “The rear system failed to meet requirements, so wasn’t even rated,” said Avery.
Jeep Wrangler gets one Euro NCAP star
The Fiat Panda wasn’t the only poor performer from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The all-new Jeep Wrangler also scored badly, earning a paltry one star.
It has a seatbelt reminder and a rudimentary speed limiter but otherwise, lacks a single piece of driver-assistance technology. “The Wrangler clears the one-star threshold but lags far behind its competitors,” said Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen.
Luckily, every other car tested in this latest round of assessments did much better. The Audi Q3, BMW X5, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jaguar I-Pace, Peugeot 508 and Volvo S60 and V60 line all scored five stars – proving it is still possible to do well in Euro NCAP.
“The Audi Q3, Jaguar I-Pace, Peugeot 508 and Volvo V60/S60 have set the standard against which other are judged this time, and other manufacturers could do well to follow their example,” said van Ratingen.
“The I-Pace, especially, demonstrates that future vehicles will be good for the environment but also provide high levels of safety.”