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Fiat Punto is the first car to get zero stars from Euro NCAP safety tests

Plus we reveal Don't Buy cars from brands such as Vauxhall, Ford and Toyota

Fiat Punto is the first car to get zero stars from Euro NCAP safety tests

A lack of now-basic safety features and poor collision protection means that the Fiat Punto (2006-) is the first car to ever receive zero stars from safety organisation Euro NCAP.

The current Punto has been on sale since 2006 and continues to meet the minimum safety requirements to be sold in Europe. However, in the intervening years, new safety technology has come onto the market and comparatively the Punto has fallen far behind.

Euro NCAP – which we helped to set up twenty years ago – is a safety organisation that continues to push for higher standards of safety in cars, evolving its tests over time. The latest revision to its tests, and reassessing the Punto against them, has resulted in the little car receiving a score of zero stars.

Other cars, including the Toyota Aygo, Ford C-Max and Alfa Romeo Giulietta, have also been re-tested and awarded a three-star rating by Euro NCAP. Any car that gets less than a four-star rating by Euro NCAP instantly gets made a Which? Don’t Buy car.

Want to win £2,500? Which? and Euro NCAP rate cars for safety, but what about reliability? Take part in the Which? Car Survey 2018 to help us find the most and least reliable cars on our roads, and you could win £2,500 (T&Cs apply).

Fiat Punto

New rating: zero stars

The current generation of the car has been on sale for 11 years, and was originally called the Grande Punto before Fiat changed its name to Punto Evo from 2010 and then went back to plain old Punto following a 2012 update, which included a mild facelift.

In Euro NCAP’s assessments, the lack of active safety systems, such as seatbelt reminders, speed limiters or a lane departure warning (will warn you if drift out of lane without indicating), was extremely detrimental to its score.

But the assessments also highlighted sub-par performance in how well the cars protects both adult and child occupants in a collision.

Euro NCAP’s crash tests showed that in a full frontal collision, the adult sitting in the front of the car would have weak level of chest protection. In a side-impact, an adult sitting in the back would also have weak chest protection, marginal neck protection and poor whiplash protection in the case of a rear-end collision.

In the side-impact test, it was noted that a child sitting in the rear would have poor chest and weak head protection.

This is the first car to ever be awarded zero stars by Euro NCAP.

Euro NCAP secretary general, Michiel 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.’

See our Fiat Punto (2006-) review

Toyota Aygo

New rating: three stars

With optional safety pack: four stars

The playful Toyota Aygo comes from a Japanese brand renowned for its dependability (you can see how it compares against other brands – see the least and most reliable car brands).

The Aygo is now sold with an optional safety pack, called Toyota Safety Sense, which includes an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system. This system should detect if you’re about to crash and apply the brakes for you if you haven’t already. It should either stop the car and prevent the crash from happening, or slow the car enough to mitigate the worst effects.

In Euro NCAP tests, the AEB system performed well – with collisions avoided or mitigated at in most test scenarios. A lane departure warning system is also part of the optional safety pack.

However, without that safety pack is an option that you would have to pay extra for, and is not available at all on the entry level ‘x’ trim. Without the extra pack, the car scores a mediocre three star rating, making it a Don’t Buy.

The Toyota Yaris was also reassessed at the same time and holds on to its five-star rating.

Go to our Toyota Aygo (2014-) review

Vauxhall Viva (Opel Karl)

New rating: three stars

In Europe, Vauxhall is called Opel and the Viva is called Karl – and if you go to Euro NCAP’s site, that’s how you see it listed.

The Viva just about gets a good mark for child protection in the case of a crash. But active safety systems, including a lane departure warning system and a driver-set speed limiter, are available as options. Not as standard.

There is also no AEB system available.

Here’s our Vauxhall Viva (2015-) review

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

New rating: three stars

In the latest Euro NCAP assessments, the Giulietta falls down on both child protection and a lack of active safety systems.

In the front offset test, the crash-test child-size dummies readings revealed a weak level of protection for the neck of the ten-year dummy and marginal protection of the neck and chest of the six-year dummy.

Fault was also found with the way information on the status of the front-passenger airbag was provided to the driver, which is important to anyone deactivating it to allow a child seat to be installed in the front seat.

The Giulietta has seatbelt reminders, but no speed-limiting system, lane assist or AEB system.

See our Alfa Romeo Giulietta (2010-) review

DS 3

New rating: three stars

The DS 3 is another car lacking active safety features as standard across the range, including seatbelt reminders for passengers. Though it does have a speed limiting system.

But the DS 3 doesn’t score highly for both adult and child protection in a collision.

In a head-on collision, the driver’s chest protection was rated as weak, and it was indicated that an adult sat in the back would have poor chest and head protection.

In a side collision, the side curtain airbag failed the coverage requirements for the front row. The test also revealed marginal protection against whiplash injury in the event of a rear-end collision.

In the frontal offset test (this crashes the car into a barrier, but not completely head on), neck protection for a ten-year sized child was deemed poor, and neck and chest protection just marginal for a six-year old child.

See our DS 3 (2015-) review

Ford C-Max

New rating: three stars

The Ford C-Max (Grand C Max pictured above) is a five-seater people carrier that has been on sale since 2010. While it does an adequate job of protecting its occupants in a crash, it’s the lack of active safety equipment, such as seat-belt reminders for rear passengers, that bring this car down.

Go to our Ford C-Max (2010-) review

Ford Grand C-Max

New rating: three stars

The Grand C-Max (pictured) is nearly identical to its five-seater counterpart, except that this car has seven seats, a sliding rear door and is a naturally a bit heavier. But it’s the same lack of active safety equipment that results in this car getting a three-star rating, and therefore it’s a Don’t Buy.

See our Grand Ford C-Max (2010-) review

Dacia Duster (2013-)

Keeps its three-star rating

The Dacia Duster (2013-) was also re-tested, and no improvement was made to its current three-star rating. So it continues to be a Don’t Buy car.

Make sure you’re up to date with the latest safety technology. Go to car safety equipment explained.

Five-star cars

It’s not all doom and gloom; among the latest round of Euro NCAP testing, some cars emerged with a five-star rating. Here is a list of those that did:

The Jaguar F-Pace (2015-) was also awarded a five-star rating by Euro NCAP, but we have reservations over how it handles in an emergency situation. For more details and a video of how the F-Pace might possibly leave you in an oncoming lane of traffic in, go to our Jaguar F-Pace review or read our Jaguar F-Pace news story.

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