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Jeep gets four ANCAP stars again

Below five: The Jeep Wrangler scored four safety stars in the latest round of ANCAP testing.

Another Jeep, this time the Wrangler, falls short of five-star ANCAP rating

General News logo29 Oct 2012

ANOTHER Jeep model has fallen short of the maximum ANCAP safety rating, with the hardcore Wrangler joining its Compass and Grand Cherokee siblings in achieving a four-star result.

It is the third time in less than a year that a Jeep model has scored four-stars in the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, failing to meet the increasingly common five-star rating.

The current-generation Wrangler was launched here in 2007, but received a substantial facelift in March this year. The model tested by ANCAP is the two-door version powered by the new Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine.

The result was attributed to the lack of standard head-protecting side airbags, which are available as an optional extra but need to be standard-fit for a car to achieve the maximum result under ANCAP regulations. Wrangler comes standard with dual-front airbags only.

GoAuto understands Chrysler Jeep Australia will make side airbags standard on the Wrangler range from next year, but that this is unlikely to change the four-star result.

Pedestrian protection, meanwhile, was rated as ‘Poor’.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh encouraged buyers to choose a five-star car for their next purchase.

“There are now many SUVs which have been awarded the maximum five-star ANCAPsafety rating,” he said.

80 center imageLeft: Kia Picanto Euro NCAP crash test.

“Consumers should make sure they make a five-star choice when buying their next car andthey can do that by checking the ANCAP website or on their smartphone.”

Meanwhile, one car that did manage the maximum five-star result was the Kia Picanto, despite the tiny hatch not being sold in Australia. The sticker signifying five-stars will instead be affixed to New Zealand examples, where the car is available.

Standard safety features on the Picanto – a potential rival for the Volkswagen Up and Nissan Micra – include dual-front, side and head-protecting side curtain airbags and electronic brakeforcedistribution. The pedestrian protection rating is 'Marginal'.

Mr McIntosh said the rating achieved by the Picanto “provides New Zealand motorists with yetanother safe model to chose from”.

The Picanto has been the subject of frequent speculation about a potential Australian launch since premiering at the Geneva motor show in March 2011. However, Kia Australia has so far been unable to create a viable business case.

KMAu chief operating officer Tony Barlow told GoAuto earlier this month that the company intends to take another look at the business case for importing the Picanto, but cited concerns over whether it could establish a meaningful price differential beneath the Rio light-car (from $15,290).

Even if the little model does belatedly make it here, it is believed to be unlikely to arrive before early 2014.

However, it is worth noting that the five-star Nissan Juke crossover was tested at the end of August, when it was sold only in New Zealand and not here. But less than two months later, Nissan Australia reversed it previous standpoint and confirmed the car would come here after all.

Juke sales commence in the third quarter of 2013.

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