Motors

Another poor crash test for Ford, as Audi and Toyota perform well

EURO Ncap has crash-tested six cars for its latest set of safety ratings, with another disappointing result for a new Ford model with "mediocre safety performance", writes William Scholes.

Its new Ka+ achieved three stars, the same as that awarded to the recently updated Fiat 500. The Ford Mustang scored a woeful two stars in another recent set of tests.

Citroen's new C3 gained a respectable four stars while three new crossovers and SUVs - the Land Rover Discovery, Audi Q5 and Toyota C-HR - all got the top five-star rating.

Audi Q5
Toyota C-HR

The Audi and Toyota were praised for their good all-round performance and although the Land Rover did win five stars, Euro Ncap said this was "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," it noted.

Land Rover Discovery

Michiel van Ratingen, Euro Ncap’s secretary general, said he hoped that Jaguar Land Rover's ambitious programme of new model releases "do not compromise the safety of the vehicles offered, and we hope that they will take our findings onboard".

Mr van Ratingen said it was interesting testing the three smaller cars together.

"Superminis are extremely popular in the European new car market and the segment is very price-sensitive," he said.

"To deliver attractive yet affordable cars, manufacturers are tempted to cut down on safety equipment, emphasising great looks and style instead."

The Fiat 500 and Ford Ka+ were cases in point, each lacking the rear seatbelt pretensioners and load-limiters which are by now standard on most cars.

In the full-width frontal crash test, the Fiat showed poor protection of both the driver and the rear seat passenger, and the Ford's chest protection was rated as poor.

Both cars also lack autonomous braking technology, already offered on half of new models today.

Citroen C3

The Citroen C3, meanwhile, performed much more robustly and Euro Ncap said it only narrowly missed a top five-star rating because it fell only just short of the threshold in pedestrian protection.

"The 500 is an old car by now and the small improvements that Fiat have made on the facelift don't hide that," said Mr van Ratingen.

Fiat 500

"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."

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