Crash-testing organisation has expressed disappointment at the supermini's score and the three-star scores of several other cars
Jimi Beckwith
13 December 2017

The Fiat Punto has received Euro NCAP’s first zero-star score, sparking concern at the crash-testing organisation, as have the three-star ratings of several other cars.

In the latest batch of tests, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Dacia Duster, DS 3Ford C-MaxFord Grand C-MaxKia Stonic, MG ZSToyota Aygo and Vauxhall Viva all achieved three-star ratings in their standard forms. The Aygo increases to four stars and the Stonic to five stars with optional safety equipment fitted.

After every car tested in the previous two batches scored a five-star rating, the results are a comedown for Euro NCAP.

The Punto gained special attention from the body's secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen, who said: “The fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards. Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind, as these results clearly show.”

The third-generation Punto was launched in 2005, making the car a twelve-year-old model. It wasn't replaced following the 2008 economic downturn upon Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne’s decision. 

Continuing, 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. We would urge consumers to choose cars with the most up-to-date five-star ratings, many examples of which we have seen in 2017.”

Our Verdict

Fiat Punto

Decently spacious for a supermini, with a good range of engines, but the Punto's driving dynamics are less-than beguiling

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Thatcham Research, the UK’s organisation responsible for Euro NCAP tests, explained that while the Punto’s result is the most shocking, the number of three-star results spell out a wider problem.

“Some great strides have been made in car safety this year; 72% of the cars tested achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating, compared with 56% in 2016. But December’s test results have shown that some car makers are choosing not to fit potentially life-saving safety technology as standard, despite an overall trend to the contrary in 2017,” said Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s research director.

Five cars were awarded five-star ratings with their standard equipment in this latest batch: the BMW 6 Series GT, Hyundai KonaJaguar F-Pace, Kia Stinger and Toyota Yaris

A Fiat spokesman said: “Safety is of the utmost importance to the FCA Group. When the Punto was launched 12 years ago, it was the first five-star Euro NCAP car in its class. The importance of safety to the FCA Group is demonstrated by the number of new models achieving five-star ratings, for example the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Jeep Compass.”

Dacia released the following statement about the safety of the new Duster: “The new Duster achieved a three-star safety rating – Dacia’s target. The Duster includes a host of safety equipment that has been upgraded since the previous model. Aiming for four or five stars would have meant equipping Duster with a range of recent driving aids and technology and that would have made the car more expensive and more complex to drive. That is not consistent with the vehicle’s positioning.”

Vauxhall clarified, explaining that upon launch, the Viva was a four-star car, but since then the car's lane-departure warning was made an optional extra, instead of standard, decreasing the car's rating in the process. The system now costs £165 as an extra. 

Autocar is awaiting responses from manufacturers whose cars were rewarded three stars regarding these new NCAP ratings.

Read more:

'I thought you were dead': cars you didn't realise were still being made

Improved Renault Kwid scores one star in Global NCAP crash testing

Euro NCAP testing produces another five-star batch of UK-bound cars

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Comments
44

13 December 2017

Euro NCAP have an agenda, to keep the test industry going. Nearly all cars are effectively 5 star based on old system, so if NCAP didnt find a way of moving the goal posts they would have no further purpose. The test scores now have very little to do with real safety, just electronic stuff that they want fitted to cars. The trouble is, no one now knows how safe a car is, as it only gets a good score if fitted with extra electronics. 

13 December 2017

Clearly Ncap know how safe cars are and that's why they published the results.

13 December 2017

Has the Euro NCAP standard changed because as far as I know the Ford C-Max and Grand C-Max for example had a 5 star rating when launched in 2010 and I doubt very much a facelift, which were the models tested, have suddenly become less safe? If the standards have changed and cars that have been on sale for years, of which there are many models, are now being retested, do Euro NCAP suddenly deem these models to be unsafe, with or without optional safety equipment? Because anyone who is, say after a C-Max, could certainly well view that car as unsafe after these latest results. And manufacturers won't be going to the expense of replacing their models with all-new ones every few years now or thoroughly re-engineer models regularly just to play catch-up and satisfy Euro NCAP. Sure, saftey is paramount (while a 12 year old model like the Punto was obviously going to suffer) but I'm not wholy convinced with the way Euro NCAP are coveying their messages which, to a degree, are suggesting cars that were once safe only a few years ago are now less safe.

 

13 December 2017

The Punto has front, side and curtain airbags as standard in the UK.

 

But yes, in Italy, some of those airbags are an option which in 2017 is absolutely insane!

13 December 2017
tomhlord wrote:

The Punto has front, side and curtain airbags as standard in the UK.

 

But yes, in Italy, some of those airbags are an option which in 2017 is absolutely insane!

Whats worse is that VW  (an allegedly premium brand) have only just introduced curtain airbags as standard on the very latest 6th generation Polo, until this new model was introduced they were an option even in the UK.

13 December 2017

Think it'll be dropped rather have money spend updating it. Same goes for it's brother the Alfa Romeo Mito, both of which are well past their sell by date and sales have fallen though the floor. 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

13 December 2017

Agree with the above, the ever moving goalposts whilst retaining the same 5star top marks means there are no direct comparisons between vehicles launched in different years. I thought EuroNCAP was meant to provide the customers CLEAR comparable information.

Retesting vehicles that were tested (successfully) upon launch reeks of post-truth, rewriting history to serve their own agenda

13 December 2017

The results ARE clear. The Punto is less safe than alternative rivals. It shouldn't be a shock that a 12 year old car doesn't perform as well as a need car nor should it need to be explained that cars will lose ratings as technology improves.

13 December 2017

If you look back at the Fiat Punto's first Euro NCAP test it scored 5 stars!! I have said this for years now, they should have simply added stars instead of changing how it awards them. My 2002 Mini is a 4 star car, having seen the car inside and out and seeing one rolled on a track day I am 100% confident in the structure of the shell and have no problem putting my 2 year old daughter in the car with me, if they were to test it again now I suspect it would score 0 stars just like the Punto. When newer safer better equipped cars are released the news should read "Euro NCAP awards its first ever 6 stars" "Euro NCAP awards a groundbreaking 7 stars for safetey" 

The current system is very confusing and leaves people who prefer running older cars (which someone else has leased and paid for the depreciation) wondering if they are in fact safe vehicles or not?!

Senna in the street's Alesi in the sheets

13 December 2017

If you look back at the Fiat Punto's first Euro NCAP test it scored 5 stars!! I have said this for years now, they should have simply added stars instead of changing how it awards them. My 2002 Mini is a 4 star car, having seen the car inside and out and seeing one rolled on a track day I am 100% confident in the structure of the shell and have no problem putting my 2 year old daughter in the car with me, if they were to test it again now I suspect it would score 0 stars just like the Punto. When newer safer better equipped cars are released the news should read "Euro NCAP awards its first ever 6 stars" "Euro NCAP awards a groundbreaking 7 stars for safetey" 

The current system is very confusing and leaves people who prefer running older cars (which someone else has leased and paid for the depreciation) wondering if they are in fact safe vehicles or not?!

Senna in the street's Alesi in the sheets

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