In Brief

Britain’s least safe cars 2018: Fiat Panda scores zero-star Euro NCap crash test rating

FCA-owned Jeep also performed poorly with one-star

The Fiat Panda has been deemed the least safe car on sale in Britain after being handed a zero-star crash test rating by European safety examiners. 

Brussels-based Euro NCap (European New Car Assessment Programme) gave the compact crossover a safety rating of just 16% for child occupant protection, which Auto Express says is “the lowest rating ever awarded in this category” and “well below” the industry average score of 79%. 

Euro NCap testers said the Panda, which the magazine claims is Italy’s best-selling car, showed “poor” head and neck protection for children between the ages of six and ten. Side impact readings also uncovered “high injury risks” to children “due to head-to-head contact.”

Meanwhile, the Italian crossover was handed a 45% score for adult occupant protection and 47% for “vulnerable road users” - which includes pedestrians. 

Given that the Panda launched in 2012, car news site Motoring Research argues the crossover may be a “victim” of stricter standards introduced by Euro NCap this year.

The European crash test agency now examines autonomous emergency braking systems, which are becoming more common on new cars. The Panda, however, doesn’t include any form of driverless braking. 

Matthew Avery, director at automotive safety firm Thatcham Research, told Autocar that an autonomous emergency braking system should be installed as standard on the Panda “as the bare minimum”.

Fiat, however, said the Panda “complies with all safety legislation in every country in which it is sold.”

The Panda’s score is only the second time a car has been awarded a zero out of a possible five star safety rating. The first was awarded to the Fiat Punto last year and has since been removed from sale, says WhatCar?.

What are the UK’s least safe cars?

With the Panda scoring a zero-star rating, it is now the least safe car currently available on sale in the UK. 

Jeep, owned by Fiat parent company FCA (Fiat Chrysler Association), was given a score of just one star for its Wrangler 4x4 in the European crash test agency’s latest results. 

According to Euro NCap’s most recent figures, the ten least safe cars on sale in 2018 are: 

  • Fiat Panda - zero stars
  • Jeep Wrangler - one star
  • Suzuki Jimny - three stars
  • Fiat 500 - three stars
  • DS 3 - three stars
  • Fiat Doblo - three stars 
  • MG ZS - three stars
  • Alfa Romeo Giulietta - three stars
  • Ford Ka+ - three stars
  • Kia Picanto - three stars

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