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Fiat, Subaru chipped about safety tech

Top down: Subaru’s new-generation Impreza has safety technologies such as EyeSight autonomous braking and lane-change assist, but only on top variants.

ANCAP awards five stars to Fiat 500X and Subaru Impreza, despite misgivings


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15 Dec 2016

DESPITE being criticised for not having the latest anti-crash technology as standard equipment on all variants, the Subaru Impreza and Fiat 500X have earned a five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The new small cars got the top tick alongside Mercedes-Benz’s comprehensively equipped E-Class large car in the latest batch of ANCAP ratings announcements.

While the Benz assessment was adapted from Euro NCAP testing done earlier this year, the Impreza and 500X tests were organised by ANCAP engineers.

The Fiat 500X – a small crossover hatch that has been on sale in Australia for a year – scored a creditable 36.12 points out of a possible 37 to earn the top rating.

The Italian-built SUV lost points in the frontal offset crash test when the driver and front passenger dummies recorded “acceptable” chest protection.

Pedestrian protection also was found to be only acceptable.

Subaru’s Impreza, which is now entering the market, scored 35.8 points out of 37, losing out in the offset crash test when both front-seat dummies recorded acceptable protection for lower legs and the driver dummy was deemed to have only acceptable chest protection.

Because the Mercedes E-Class sedan was tested according to the European formula, the scores are not directly comparable with those of the 500X and Impreza.

The big Benz scored 36.29 points out of 38 for adult occupant protection. Like the smaller cars, it lost points for chest protection in frontal crash testing.

However, it got full marks for fitting autonomous emergency braking on all variants and a lane departure warning.

The five-star rating for the Fiat 500X applies to all front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants built from July 2016. The Impreza and E-Class ratings apply to all current-model variants.

Announcing the results overnight, ANCAP chief executive officer James Goodwin said it was disappointing that Fiat and Subaru did not offer autonomous braking or lane support systems on base variants.

“It’s disappointing these technologies have not been provided as standard across their respective model ranges, and for the safety of all road users we want to see an increase in the fitting of this technology,” he said.

“The E-Class has been awarded a 2016 datestamp and provides a long list of standard safety features and technologies including all three grades of autonomous emergency braking, an active bonnet for increased pedestrian protection and pre-crash systems which prepare for an impact in order to minimise occupant injury.”

Mr Goodwin applauded the industry’s efforts to improve pedestrian impact protection in 2016.

“This caps off a remarkable year for pedestrian protection with almost all vehicles rated in 2016 achieving either acceptable or good ratings,” he said.

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