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Euro NCAP fires JLR warning shot as Fiat and Ford score 'mediocre' ratings

Ford Ka+ Euro NCAP testing

Fiat’s 500 and the new Ford Ka+ both crashed their way to three-star safety ratings as Euro NCAP fired a warning shot across the bow of Jaguar Land Rover following its latest raft of tests.

The two compact contenders featured among the results of testing on six new cars which saw the Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery and Toyota C-HR emerge with five-star safety ratings and Citroën’s C3 gets four stars.   

Euro NCAP reported that the new Audi Q5 and Toyota C-HR showed good all-round performance in all areas of assessment to earn their five-star ratings.

The Land Rover Discovery scored highly enough to merit a five-star rating, but not without problems.

A statement from Euro NCAP revealed that the off-roader’s driver airbag “bottomed out owing to insufficient pressure” in the frontal offset test and that the driver’s door became unlatched in the side barrier test,

Commenting on the JLR product’s difficulties, Euro NCAP 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 on board.”

In the same raft of tests Euro NCAP tested Fiat’s recent facelift of the 500 supermini against the latest safety rules and benchmarked its performance with two newcomers in the same segment, the all-new Citroën C3 and the low-cost Ford Ka+.

Euro NCAP said that the battle to deliver value in the supermini segment had seen the Fiat and Ford fall short in the safety equipment stakes with a lack rear seatbelt pretensioners and load-limiters, by now standard on most cars on the market.

It stated that in the full-width frontal crash test the Fiat showed “poor protection of both the driver and the rear seat passenger”.

In the Ka+, chest protection was rated as poor.

Both cars also lack autonomous braking technology, already offered on half of new models today.

The Citroën C3 performed more robustly, Euro NCAP reported, stating that it had narrowly missed a top five-star rating after falling just short of the threshold in pedestrian protection.

Michiel van Ratingen, said: “The 500 is an old car by now and the small improvements that Fiat have 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.”               

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