New tests for facelifted models sees Euro NCAP award Fiat Punto a zero star rating
Not a month seems to go by where Euro NCAP aren’t awarding the latest new car releases five star ratings due to the crash protection and anti-crash technology offered.
December wasn’t much different, with Euro NCAP rounding off its busiest-ever year by awarding five stars to the likes of the Hyundai Kona, the Kia Stinger, the fourth generation BMW 6 series and the Jaguar F-Pace released early last year.
The times they are a-changing though. Faced with a competitive market-place and rapidly-changing consumer preferences, more and more manufacturers are choosing to extend the lifetimes of their models, often introducing only minor facelifts along the way to boost sales.
To allow consumers to make a fair comparison to new models, Euro NCAP has taken the step to update the ratings on several recently facelifted cars.
Apart from the Toyota Yaris, which kept its five-star rating, the Toyota Aygo, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Ford’s C-Max and Grand C-Max, and the DS 3 all dropped to three stars.
The most extreme example of downgrading however is the Fiat Punto. Having been on sale since 2005, the ageing supermini has the dubious distinction of becoming the first car ever to be awarded zero stars by Euro NCAP having been outclassed by every car tested in recent history.
Euro NCAP’s rating scheme requires cars to score a minimum number of points in all four areas of assessment to qualify for even one star. In areas like adult and child occupant safety and pedestrian protection, the Punto still performed well enough to qualify for at least two stars but it was let down in driver assistance and crash avoidance – with only a seatbelt reminder system for the driver as standard no points were scored in this part of the assessment.
Commenting, Euro NCAP secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen said: “This is perhaps the strongest example of a manufacturer continuing to sell a product that is well past its best-before date, at the expense of the unsuspecting car buyer.”
One more reason to lease?
While we’ve talked about the ethics of only offering advanced safety technology as a costly add-on, five-star superminis like the new Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza all come with advanced safety technology as standard, offering the best in crash avoidance and crash protection.
The fact that older cars and facelifted models such as the Fiat Punto cannot compete with models in the same segment, while being bandied as legit competitors, illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards.
Leasing is one cost effective way you can keep ahead of the curve on car safety and ensure you and your loved ones are as safe as can be. Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind and are at increased risk, as these results clearly show.