The new-look Renault Megane - which launches in Australia in a matter of weeks - managed only three stars in the scoring due to a number of factors, including "predominantly poor" pedestrian head protection and a rear seatbelt reminder system that - while fitted as standard - tells the driver using text that is not available in all languages.
According to Euro NCAP, the latter problem is one the French brand will address "very soon". The crash tester said that if the system had been compliant the car would have scored a four-star rating.
In terms of occupant protection in the event of a crash, the Renault scored more positive results. Its adult occupant score was 83 per cent, and its child occupant rating was 78 per cent. Euro NCAP said the hatch scored "maximum points for its protection of the 1½ year infant", and fair protection of the three-year dummy in a forward-facing seat. The car also scored maximum points in the side-impact test, though it scored only "marginal" for whiplash protection for the front seats and was found to offer "poor" levels of protection for the rear seats.
The three-star score shows the impact of stricter measures for pedestrian safety and in-car technologies, particularly given the pre-update model launched in 2008 scored the full five-star rating.
Renault wasn't the only brand to score three stars in the latest round of European testing. Two models for developing markets - the Citroen C-Elysee and Peugeot 301 sedans both scored three stars, while the Chinese-made MG 3 city car also racked up a three-star score.
Ford's Tourneo Connect small passenger van managed a four-star score, while of the six cars tested in the latest Euro NCAP round only one managed the maximum five-star rating: the Volkswagen Golf Sports Van.