Another month, another batch of recently launched vehicles were tested by the Euro NCAP. This time, the European New Car Assessment Program evaluated nine new models, including the Audi Q3, BMW X5, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jaguar I-PACE, Peugeot 508, Volvo V60, and S60. All these cars achieved five-star ratings, but that’s hardly a surprise. Way more interesting are the results of the Jeep Wrangler and Fiat Panda.
The former surprises with just a single star out of five possible and that’s mainly due to the lack of modern active and passive safety systems. Despite being new for 2018, on the European market the Wrangler comes equipped only with a seatbelt reminder and a simple driver-set speed limiter. As far as airbags are concerned, the off-roader has front driver and passenger airbags, side head airbags, and side chest airbags.
Gallery: December EuroNCAP crash test
The situation is even worse with the Panda. It becomes only the second vehicle ever to record zero starts from Euro NCAP's tests following the Punto in 2017. Euro NCAP is particularly unhappy with the fact that the supermini has no other standard form of a driver-assistance system than a seatbelt reminder. In fact, lane keep assist, speed assistance, and automatic emergency braking are not even optionally available.
“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,” secretary general of Euro NCAP comments on the Wrangler’s results. “It is high time we saw a product from the Fiat-Chrysler group offering safety to rival its competitors.”
All other tested vehicles from the final portion of cars for this year register five-star ratings, but the organisation points out not everything is perfect in terms of safety performance even with them. The Hyundai Santa Fe, for example, showed an issue where the side curtain airbags could be torn during deployment in vehicles equipped with the optional panoramic roof. The BMW X5, on the other hand, failed to deploy its knee airbag correctly – an issue also seen in the 2017 5 Series.
Today, Euro NCAP releases the safety ratings of nine cars. The Audi Q3, BMW X5, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jaguar I-PACE, Peugeot 508, Volvo V60 and its partner, the S60, all achieve a maximum five-star rating. However, two FCA vehicles – FIAT’s aging Pandaand Jeep’s all-new Wrangler – get zero stars and one star respectively.
The Panda, last tested by Euro NCAP in 2011, has now been comprehensively overtaken by rival superminis in the race for safety. 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.
In contrast, the four-wheel drive off-road Jeep Wrangler is an all-new vehicle, fresh to the market in 2018. 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.
Michiel van Ratingen 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. It is high time we saw a product from the FIAT-Chrysler group offering safety to rival its competitors.”
But even some five-star vehicles had problems. Euro NCAP’s tests on the Hyundai Santa Fe highlighted an issue where the side curtain airbags of cars equipped with a panoramic roof could be torn during deployment. In response, Hyundai has already changed the airbag fixings in production and early cars are subject to an official recall. Owners of such vehicles will be contacted by the manufacturer and should make sure they take their cars to dealers to be re-worked.
The BMW X5 also suffered from airbag problems, the driver knee airbag not deploying correctly in the frontal offset test and providing little additional protection to the driver’s legs. A similar issue was seen with the 5 Series in 2017.
Michiel van Ratingen, “Despite the work done by manufacturers during the development of their vehicles, Euro NCAP still sees a lack of robustness in some basic areas of safety. To be fair, the Audi Q3, Jaguar I-PACE, Peugeot 508 and Volvo V60/S60 have set the standard against which others are judged this time, and other manufacturers could do well to follow their example. The I-PACE, especially, demonstrates that future vehicles will be good for the environment but also provide high levels of safety”.