Land Rover scores 5 stars and still gets thrashing from agency.

Euro NCAP’s latest round of safety testing has left engineers at Audi and Toyota beaming. The new Audi Q5 and Toyota C-HR have both scored a full five stars and have been described by Euro NCAP has offering a “good all-round performance in all areas of assessment”. Given how the safety body is clamping down on standards and awarding fewer and fewer maximum ratings, this is high praise indeed.

The new Land Rover Discovery has also scored five stars, but you sense Euro NCAP awarded this a little reluctantly. It “scored highly enough to merit a five-star rating,” it says, but was “not without problems”. Namely, the driver’s airbag bottomed out during the frontal offset, due to a lack of pressure, and the driver’s door became unlatched during the side barrier test.

Land Rover Discovery Euro NCAP test


“Jaguar Land Rover has an ambitious program of new model releases in the coming years,” said Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen. “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 onboard.”

Citroen didn’t quite manage a full five stars with the new C3 supermini, but four stars isn’t bad, given its price-led nature. It only narrowly missed out on a five-star rating, falling just short in pedestrian protection. The full force of Euro NCAP’s mire was reserved for Fiat and Ford, both of which scored three stars for the 500 and Ka+ respectively.

Fiat 500 Euro NCAP test
Ford Ka+ Euro NCAP test

To save costs, for example, both of them lack rear seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, tech that’s now standard on most new cars on sale. To make them stylish yet affordable, alleges Euro NCAP, car makers are tempted to cut back on safety equipment and focus on good looks instead.

Speaking about the Fiat, 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.” Customers may, he suggested, be better off waiting for an all-new 500.

Or maybe not. “Unfortunately, high hopes for the segment are smashed by Ford 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.”

It doesn’t have to be this way, just because a car is small, he added. “The new C3 shows that a respectful rating is achievable also for superminis.”

Source: Euro NCAP

Euro NCAP 2017 safety tests

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FIAT AND FORD FALL SHORT OF RIVALS’ SAFETY RATINGS

Today, Euro NCAP releases the results of six new cars. The Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery and Toyota C-HR all get a top five-star safety rating; Citroën’s C3 gets four stars; and FIAT’s ageing 500 and Ford’s brand new Ka+ notched up three out of five stars apiece.    

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. In the frontal offset test, the driver airbag bottomed out owing to insufficient pressure and, in the side barrier test, the driver’s door became unlatched.

Euro NCAP’s 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 onboard”.

Still going strong more than 10 years after it first hit markets, FIAT’s reincarnation of the iconic 500 continues to be a popular choice in the supermini segment. Euro NCAP tested the recent facelift 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+. Superminis are extremely popular in the European new car market and the segment is very price-sensitive. To deliver attractive yet affordable cars, manufacturers are tempted to cut down on safety equipment, emphasising great looks and style instead. Case in point are the FIAT 500 and the Ford Ka+ that lack rear seatbelt pretensioners and load-limiters, by now standard on most cars on the market.

In the full-width frontal crash test, introduced in 2015, the 500 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 on the other hand performed much more robustly: it narrowly missed a top five-star rating, falling only just short of the threshold in pedestrian protection.

Euro NCAP’s Secretary General, 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.”               

Detailed results and crash test pictures of these cars are published on our website. All videos are available on our YouTube channel. For media requests, please contact Marie Brasseur at media@euroncap.com. More safety ratings will be released on April 12, 2017.