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Just two safety stars for Jeep Compass

Just the two: The facelifted Jeep Compass has received a sub-standard two-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Shock two-star ENCAP rating for facelifted Jeep Compass, as Honda Civic scores five

Jeep logo23 Feb 2012

By MARTON PETTENDY

JEEP’S newly facelifted Compass has scored a sub-standard two-star safety rating from independent crash safety body Euro NCAP, which this week also awarded Honda’s new Civic hatch a maximum five-star rating.

While the new Civic hatch, which will be released in Australia during the second half of this year, joins the Civic sedan – on sale here next month – in attracting the highest Euro NCAP accolade, the respected European safety body's shock two-star score will disappoint buyers of the freshly upgraded Compass launched locally in January.

However, Chrysler Australia believes the Compass will score a more favourable four-star rating from local safety body, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), which follows the same test protocols as Euro NCAP but is yet to adopt the tougher scoring system it introduced from this year.

"The Australian specified Compass has not been tested," said Chrysler Australia corporate affairs director Lenore Fletcher.

"However, internal modeling indicates the vehicle would achieve a four-star rating under the previous protocols of Euro NCAP, and also under Australian NCAP.

"It should be noted that the Jeep Compass retains the full Chrysler safety package, including ABS, electronic stability control, passenger and curtain airbags, and a reinforced occupant cell."Euro NCAP said the revised compact crossover scored two stars against its 2012 criteria, in which vehicles must achieve an overall score of at least 80 per cent to attract a five-star rating, as well as at least 80 per cent for adult protection, 75 per cent for child protection and 60 per cent for both pedestrian protection and ‘safety assist’, which rewards cars for safety features such as automatic braking to avoid collisions.

The comprehensively upgraded Compass was relaunched here after a two-year absence priced from $26,500 last month, but comes without a diesel engine or side thorax airbags as standard, falling short of the six airbags offered by most mainstream compact SUVs.

9 center imageLeft: Jeep Compass ENCAP side impact crash image. Below: Honda Civic hatch.

Active safety equipment on all Compass models includes anti-lock brakes, electronic traction/stability control and electronic roll mitigation, while multi-stage front airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on all variants.

However, seat-mounted side airbags are only available as part of a ‘Safety and Comfort’ option package that costs $800 on Sport and $550 on Limited variants and also includes heated seats and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

But even when tested with optional side thorax airbags, Euro NCAP said the Compass “showed a poor protection levels, particularly in the side pole test”, resulting in a low 61 per cent score for adult protection and 76 per cent for child protection.

Perhaps even worse – especially in highly populated Europe, where like Australia compact crossovers represent one of the fastest growing vehicle segments – the Compass scored a “disappointing” 23 per cent score for pedestrian safety, and just 43 per cent for safety assist.

“Compact SUVs are the most popular sport-utility segment in Europe, but the Jeep Compass did not demonstrate itself as strong contender on safety in comparison to other tested competitors in the same category,” said Euro NCAP.

“Interestingly, these results unmistakably highlight the step forwards made in the market place by some car manufacturers and the lack of progress by others.”

Meantime, the Civic hatch shined with 94 per cent for adult protection, 83 per cent for child protection, 69 per cent for pedestrian protection and 86 per cent for safety assist – the latter in part due to the availability of Honda’s radar-based Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), an automatic emergency braking technology previously rewarded by Euro NCAP.

“The ninth-generation family hatchback achieved high scores in all areas of assessment, putting it on a par with its rivals in this competitive market segment,” it said.

At the same time, Euro NCAP has re-issued the maximum five-star rating – as tested under its more stringent 2012 rules – for a range of vehicles tested last year.

They include the BMW 1 Series and X1, Ford Focus and Ranger, Mercedes M-class, Nissan Leaf, Subaru XV and Volvo V60.

“The results published today show clearly that a five-star these days means a lot more than a five-star some years ago,” said Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen.

“Many car-makers have moved on and so have we. Cars based on older technology, brushed up and marketed as new are not providing the same levels as safety as the newest models developed against the new targets. Consumers interested in a fair comparison will not be fooled by these results.”

Also awarded five Euro NCAP stars late last year were Volkswagen’s forthcoming Beetle and Up micro-hatch, Kia’s new Rio hatch, Holden’s upcoming Volt plug-in hybrid and Malibu mid-sizer, the new Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz’s C-class Coupe and new B-class hatch.

However, lesser four-star ratings were handed to Jeep’s Grand Cherokee, Renault’s Fluence ZE and the Jaguar XF in November.

Earlier this month, Honda’s upcoming Civic sedan and Hyundai’s recently released Veloster coupe both scored five-star crash safety ratings under the tougher 2012 ANCAP rules that now take pedestrian protection into account.

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