Jeep's Cherokee SUV and the new Peugeot 208 hatchback fell short of Euro NCAP’s five star vehicle safety rating as BMW’s new 3 Series and 1 Series models scored top ratings during October crash tests.
Bedford-based Thatcham Research which conducts crash tests on behalf of Euro NCAP to determine the cars’ safety, said that the Cherokee’s Adult Occupant Protection (80%) and Child Occupant (78%) scores were the lowest awarded in 2019 and said that the French hatchback was “not a good choice if you’re carrying adults in the back”.
The Jeep and Peugeot were the first vehicles tested by Thatcham in 2019 not to achieve a five star safety rating.
Matthew Avery, director of research, Thatcham Research, said: “The Peugeot 208’s four-star rating is respectable, but the car is not a good choice if you’re carrying adults in the back, with its ‘Poor’ whiplash protection for rear passengers.
“Protecting both front and rear occupants is especially important as families continue to downsize from larger vehicles.”
He added: “The Jeep Cherokee is an improvement on last year’s one-star Wrangler. However, there’s still a long way to go before Jeep can get back to producing five-star cars like the 2017 Compass.
“The Cherokee’s Adult Occupant Protection (80%) and Child Occupant (78%) scores are the lowest awarded in 2019, while the front and rear seats again offered marginal whiplash protection. Its low-speed Autonomous Emergency Braking system didn’t meet the mark either.”
While two five-star BMWs lifted the average scores achieved in Thatcham’s October round of crash tests, Avery said that their performance had fallen short of some key rivals in “an incredibly competitive safety market”.
The 97% Adult Occupant Protection score awarded to the BMW 3 Series is one of the highest seen in 2019 but Avery said that “whilst good, it’s 76% score for safety technologies is down on the 94% benchmark set by the Tesla Model 3 earlier this year.”
Avery added, “The BMW 1 Series also scored a top Euro NCAP rating, but again did not quite meet the standard set by the Mercedes A-Class in 2018. This goes to show how Euro NCAP ratings are driving an incredibly competitive safety market.”
In January Thatcham Research ranked its top 10 safest cars of 2019, but the Tesla Model 3 electric vehcile (EV) later shone in its crash tests.
In light of the comparatively poor whiplash protection ratings achieved by the Jeep and Peugeot models, Thatcham Research highlighted how its pioneering whiplash testing saw it invited to become a Euro NCAP member in 2007.
The testing was introduced into the Euro NCAP programme “at a time when neck injury insurance claims for whiplash were causing widespread industry alarm,” Avery said.
In 2000 only 16% of seats were rated Good, in 2007 that figure had almost doubled to 29%. Today the figure is closer to 100%.
Avery said: “Whiplash is now a key part of carmaker safety strategy, and seats today are specifically designed to protect occupants’ necks.
“Although the whiplash results seen in this round of testing don’t represent a significant backward step, the safety of rear seat occupants should remain a priority.”