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Cherokee is Jeep’s first five-star model

Star performer: The new-generation Cherokee is the first Jeep-branded model to achieve the maximum five-star ANCAP rating.

Top ANCAP score for Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder, Skoda Rapid and Honda Odyssey

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Jeep logo28 May 2014

JEEP has scored its first five-star crash safety rating in Australia for its reborn Cherokee compact SUV in the latest round of testing by the local safety authority.

The new-generation Cherokee, which arrives in local showrooms early next month, matches the five-star rating of a number of its competitors including the Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4.

Other new models to achieve the maximum five-star rating in this round of testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) include the Honda Odyssey people-mover, Skoda Rapid small hatch and Nissan’s eco-friendly Pathfinder Hybrid that is scheduled to launch locally next month.

Jeep’s current model range is a four-star affair, with the compact Compass, rugged Wrangler and even the full-size Grand Cherokee not managing a top score in the local crash test rankings. The Patriot is yet to be tested by ANCAP but is based on the similarly sized Compass.

ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said Jeep’s result was a positive step forward for the brand after trailing its rivals for some time in the safety stakes.

“Jeep is a mainstream brand that has been around for many years but has lagged its competitors in terms of safety,” he said. “Having a five-star model now available to consumers is a commendable achievement by Jeep.” The Cherokee Longitude 2.0-litre diesel variant tested by ANCAP achieved an overall score of 36.16 out of a possible 37 points, with the American-built SUV scoring the maximum 16 out of 16 for the side-impact protection test and two out of two for the pole test.

Jeep lost a few points for chest protection in the frontal offset test, with ANCAP saying the Cherokee’s passenger compartment “held its shape well”, the pedal and steering wheel “displacements were controlled” and contact with the airbags up front was “stable”.

 Some points were also lost in the pedestrian test, with the front edge of the bonnet offering poor protection for the pelvis. However, ANCAP said the bumper provided good protection for pedestrians’ legs.

The Cherokee is fitted with safety gear that includes dual front, side chest, curtain and a driver’s knee airbag as standard as well as seat-belt reminders, a roll stability system and trailer stability control.

While ANCAP commended each of the car’s results, Mr McIntosh said the four vehicle’s lack of active safety features such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and reversing collision avoidance was disappointing.

“The future of vehicle safety lies with active safety features – safety assist technologies which can prevent a crash from occurring,” he said. “Many of these technologies are now widely available in Europe and are working to reduce the number and severity of crashes.

“Their availability in Australasia is, however, being restricted by manufacturers, many of which are still only offering them to those who are prepared to pay for them as an extra.”

The five-star result for the Pathfinder Hybrid marks an improvement over its Navara ute-based predecessor, scoring 35.73 points out of 37 but losing marks for poor leg protection and marginal to poor head protection for the edges of the bonnet in the pedestrian protection test.

The Pathfinder’s result is unsurprising given ANCAP tested the non-hybrid version last year and awarded it top marks.

The Skoda Rapid scored 35.17 thanks to a good result in the frontal offset test and pedestrian protection. Skoda’s five-star rating means that almost all of the Volkswagen Group-owned Czech brand’s range including the Superb, Octavia, Yeti and recently discontinued Roomster have achieved the maximum crash test rating, with the exception of the aging Fabia light car.

Honda’s fifth-generation scored 32.75 out of 37, improving on the previous model’s four-star rating but lost points in the frontal offset test for protection of lower legs.

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