The Jeep Patriot has become only the second model from the American off-road specialist to get the almost requisite ANCAP five-star rating, following in the wheel-tracks of the new Cherokee.
The latest round of ANCAP tests are part of an initiative to grade some vehicles that are a little later in their life cycles — the Jeep dates back to 2007 and the V200 to 2011 — in response to customer enquiries, according to ANCAP communications manager Rhianne Robson.
This is why each photo is date-stamped as 2011. Both cars, due to their age, were tested against the less intensive 2011 regime on account of the age of their designs. ANCAP’s methodology seems to centre on encouraging safety innovations more on all-new designs, while older extant vehicles are tested against the criteria they would have faced when they were launched, or at least earlier in their lifecycle.
Better later than never.
Despite being launched here in 2007, the Patriot has never been tested. The ageing offering is set for replacement by a new compact SUV that will fill the role of both the Patriot and its edgier Compass sibling from 2016.
“This is a great result for Jeep,” said ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh. “Their first five-star model was the 2014 Cherokee rated earlier this year and now the Patriot has proven it too is a safe choice for consumers.”
The Patriot’s close relation, the Compass, managed only four stars when tested in 2012, the same result as the Grand Cherokee. This result, especially on the more expensive and larger latter example, falls short of rivals in a segment where passenger safety is highly valued.
Note: only the 4x2 entry versions of the Patriot score the five-star figure (32.73 out of 37), since the 4x4 wasn’t tested. But since it gets at least the same level of safety equipment, it should also manage the superior figure.
Meanwhile the Great Wall’s grade, which applies to the V200 turbo-diesel 4x4 single cab as tested, falls short of the mark, though is nevertheless better than its two-star V240 petrol stablemate.
“Price is of course one of the key factors when it comes to deciding which car to buy, but that shouldn’t mean we compromise on safety,” McIntosh said.
“Today's two ratings highlight the differences we're still seeing between passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles (LCVs).
“LCVs are still being afforded regulatory concessions when it comes to safety but there is no reason why LCVs should be built to lesser standards than passenger cars.”
The concessions refer to ADR oddities such as ESC not being made mandatory on existing LCVs until 2017, or newly launched models from 2015. On passenger cars, it’s already required.
The result means the budget Chinese offering — a diminishing commodity gives sales around about 53 per cent this year as certain Japanese rivals close the pricing gap — equals the Chinese Foton Tunland’s three-star score and falls short of the newly revised, Indian Tata Xenon.
More importantly, an increasing number of rival utes from more established brands are getting five stars, and it’s essentially de rigueur for any new model worth its salt.
In the first half of 2014, 90 per cent of new passenger vehicles sold held a five-star ANCAP safety rating. Only 55 per cent of light commercial vehicles offered the same high level of safety, however, according to the safety watchdog.