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by Tim Beissmann

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has praised the Holden Malibu for achieving a five-star safety rating but has expressed disappointment at a four-star result for the family-oriented Fiat Freemont.

Launching in Australia next month, the Holden Malibu scored 35.47 points out of 37, according to ANCAP “performing well across all crash tests and providing good levels of protection to the majority of body regions for both the driver and passenger”.

The mid-sized Malibu sedan tested was fitted with six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) and electronic stability control as standard, although lost marks for failing to include rear seatbelt reminders and pretensioners.

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The recently launched Fiat Freemont – essentially a rebadged version of the Dodge Journey – scored 32.15 points of out 37, including 12.15 out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test, translating to an overall four-star safety rating.

ANCAP CEO Nicholas Clarke said new-car buyers should not settle for anything less than a five-star car.

“Models like the Freemont are purpose-built to carry up to seven occupants – in particular families,” Clarke said.

“It is therefore concerning that this model did not score sufficient points to achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating.”

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Clarke also expressed his disappointment that the Freemont sold in Australia lacks a pedestrian-protecting active bonnet – a feature that is standard on the car in Europe.

“We need to see the same maximum level of vehicle safety technologies offered in all countries. We’re all equal, we should save lives equally – here, in Europe, in America, in Asia – right across the world.”

The Freemont scored a “marginal” pedestrian protection rating.




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