The Fiat Punto has received a zero-star Euro NCAP safety rating, becoming the first car in the programme’s 20-year history to do so.
On sale since 2005, the current-generation mid-size Italian hatchback was re-examined for 2017, having originally been tested in its launch year.
Back then, it received a five-star rating and no major revisions have been made to the vehicle since its original release.
Euro NCAP – European New Car Assessment Programme – was established in 1997 to create an independent standard for consumers to compare vehicle safety.
A car must score a minimum number of points in all categories to qualify for at least a one-star rating. The Punto performed well enough in adult and child occupant safety, as well as pedestrian protection, to be on track to receive a two-star rating – scoring 51%, 43% and 52% score in each respective category.
However, because there were no driver assistance and safety technologies, it got no score for safety assistance. The only classifiable technology available as standard on the vehicle is a driver’s seatbelt warning system.
Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, 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 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.”
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, a partner of Euro NCAP, added: “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% below the average for the superminis tested in 2017. This is essentially an old car, but that should have sharpened the focus on fitting safety technologies to counteract its dated crash performance.”