Fiat Punto gets awarded the lowest crash test rating ever
- The Fiat Punto has been on sale since 2005 and had been awarded 5 stars
- However, it lacks modern safety assistance systems by today’s standards
- Euro NCAP said the car was ‘past its sell-by-date’ compared to rivals on sale
- Of 70 cars tested by the safety body this year, 44 achieved 5-star scores
The Fiat Punto – a new car you can buy from a UK showroom today – has been awarded the lowest crash test rating of all time.
Euro NCAP, which tests around 70 new models each year, has a safety rating of five stars to determine which vehicles will protect you best if you have a shunt. And until the latest rounds of tests, no car has ever received a zero-star rating.
The Punto, starting at £11,895, has been on sale for no less than 12 years and once scored five stars for safety but has now fallen foul of safety standards increasing while it has failed to keep pace.
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Zero-star crash test rating: The Fiat Punto is the first car to be awarded a zero-star Euro NCAP crash test score since testing began 20 years ago. However, it was the first supermini to score a full five-star rating when it was first test back in 2005 when it was first launched
Despite being introduced in 2005, Fiat still sells the model new in showrooms today.
Euro NCAP originally conducted tests on the Italian supermini the year it was launched – when known as the Grande Punto – and awarded it a full five-star rating – the first supermini to receive the accolade at the time.
But after replicating a variety of controlled crashes to the latest standards this month, it deemed it ‘past its sell-by-date where safety is concerned’.
Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) said the rating scheme – that was massively overhauled in 2009 and updated most recently in 2015 – requires cars to score a minimum number of points in all four areas of the assessment to qualify for a one-star rating.
These assessment areas are adult occupant safety, child occupant safety, pedestrian protection and – most important for the Punto – safety assist.
It said the Punto scored well enough to achieve two-star ratings for the first three categories but lacked the modern-day assistance features to rank high enough in the final assessment to even be awarded with a measly single-star score.
Euro NCAP said the Punto only had a seatbelt reminder system as standard, while other superminis would also have more advanced systems like autonomous emergency braking that automatically stops the car in the case of an impeding collision at slow speeds.
Michiel van Ratingen from the crash-safety body said the Punto was ‘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.’
He added: ‘We would urge consumers to check our website for the latest ratings and to choose cars with the most up-to-date five-star ratings, many examples of which we have seen in 2017.’
Euro NCAP deems any car with a one-star rating as offering ‘marginal crash protection’, and the Fiat Punto didn’t even achieve that
Even by today’s standards, experts said the safety provided to occupants in the Fiat Punto was below par compared to other superminis on sale, such as the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris
In response to the rating, a spokesperson on behalf of the FCA Group – which owns Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep – told This is Money: ‘Safety is of the utmost importance to the FCA group.
‘When 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 5 stars, for example Alfa Romeo Giulia, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and the Jeep Compass.’
The lowest rating achieved in 2017 until the Punto’s dismal performance was the Ford Mustang with a two-star score. However, it was later increased to three stars when the manufacturer facelifted the model with new safety features included as standard.
Matthew Avery, director of research at safety experts Thatcham Research, said all the scores achieved by the little Fiat were well below par compared to rival models in the same sector and the car maker should have done more to fit it with the latest technology to protect buyers.
‘In 2005 the Fiat Punto achieved a good rating. However, Euro NCAP frequently raises the bar in its testing regime – and the Fiat Punto’s adult occupant protection score of 51 per cent is more than 30 per cent below the average for the superminis tested in 2017,’ he said.
A statement from Fiat said that ‘safety is of the utmost importance to the FCA group’, which owns the Italian car brand
Euro NCAP conducts a variety of impact tests on around 70 models each year to determine how safe they are
Euro NCAP awarded the Punto a zero per cent score for safety assist.
Avery added: ‘Yes, this is essentially an old car, but that should have sharpened the focus on fitting safety technologies to counteract it’s dated crash performance.’
Of the 70 cars tested in 2017, 44 scored five-star Euro NCAP crash test ratings – that works out at 63 per cent of all models assessed being awarded the highest score available.
The 44 cars that received 5-star ratings from Euro NCAP in 2017
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
BMW 5 Series
BMW 6 Series GT
Citroen C3 Aircross
DS 7 Crossback
Land Rover Discovery
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Range Rover Velar
Vauxhall Crossland X
Vauxhall Grandland X
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online