The standard version of the new Fiat Tipo was awarded a three-star rating, with models featuring an optional safety pack achieving four stars.
The areas of concern in the Tipo’s crash test results were marginal levels of head and chest protection for both front and rear occupants, and a marginal level of whiplash protection for rear-seat passengers. However, the Tipo did score maximum points in the side barrier and side pole impact tests.
The main area of concern for Thatcham is the omission of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) as standard on the Tipo. The optional safety pack does add low- and high-speed AEB, but still does not include pedestrian recognition – unlike the latest versions of its chief rivals.
“Consumers shouldn’t be asked to make a choice when it comes to safety,” said Thatcham Research Chief Executive, Peter Shaw. “The problem is that when safety systems are not standard, consumers simply do not specify the option. Our data shows that uptake rates of optional safety packs are extremely low – in the region of 2.5%. That’s why we believe vehicle manufacturers need to prioritise AEB as standard on all new cars.”
The Tipo in standard form scores just 25% in the Euro NCAP safety assist category. The safety pack adds city and inter-urban autonomous emergency braking, but even then it only raises the Tipo to a four-star level. This is off the pace of other new rivals launched in recent years.
“Vehicle manufacturers should be targeting a five-star Euro NCAP rating for all new models and to achieve this they need to score highly in every assessment category, including Safety Assist,” commented Thatcham Research Director of Research, Matthew Avery.
“The scores give consumers a clear indication of which cars they should be considering and just as importantly the ones that fall short of expectations. With most small family cars such as the Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane and Volkswagen Golf all achieving five stars, it’s disappointing that Fiat can’t follow suit.”
Recent changes to the Euro NCAP testing protocol allow cars to be tested under a new dual rating scheme. The base rating indicates the safety standard of the car fitted only with standard safety equipment, and, if the manufacturer wishes, a second rating for the car fitted with an optional ‘safety pack’. The safety pack must be offered on all versions, be available in all markets and sold in ‘significant’ numbers. The dual rating lets consumers see the improvement in safety which can be achieved by the additional crash avoidance equipment.