Punto flunks with zero, DS3 and Giulietta reduced to three stars

Euro NCAP has released its latest safety scores this week for a number of models, including updated ratings for ageing vehicles still sold as new cars.

Several all-new cars got full five-star ratings, including the Hyundai Kona, Kia Stinger, BMW 6 Series GT and Jaguar F-Pace, while re-testing of some recently-facelifted versions of older models revealed some sub-par results - including a zero-star score.

The firm says the updated ratings give consumers a fairer comparison between face-lifted cars and new releases.

Hit the hardest by the re-test was the Fiat Punto - axed from the Australian line-up in 2015 but still a strong-seller in markets like Italy - which hasn't seen a major overhaul since it went on sale in 2005, getting zero stars for the first time in Euro NCAP's history.

In order to get one star, the company's rating scheme requires a minimum number of points in all four areas of assessment.

Despite a two-star performance in adult and child protection, along with pedestrian protection, the Punto achieved zero points in the areas of driver assistance and crash avoidance - with the only technology fitted as standard being a seatbelt reminder for the driver.

The Punto was not alone in the re-rating blitz, though, with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Ford C-Max and Grand C-Max, Toyota Aygo, Opel Karl, and DS3 all dropped to three stars under the latest criteria.

Only the updated Toyota Yaris kept its five-star rating, thanks to its standard inclusion of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane assist systems in Europe - Australians need to option the technology on lower grades, however.

"The fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards," said Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP's secretary general.

"Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind, as these results clearly show."

It wasn't only older models that achieved average safety scores, however. The new MG ZS, Dacia Duster and Kia Stonic all received three stars with their standard safety equipment - though the Kia's optional 'safety pack ', which adds AEB and lane assist systems, upgrades the rating to five stars.

Australia

Local crash-testing authority, ANCAP, has confirmed with CarAdvice that from 1 January 2018, all new safety ratings will be valid for a period of six years.

If the vehicle isn't updated or superseded in those six years, ANCAP's rating will expire - rendering the model 'unrated' - until the firm reassesses the vehicle to the current year's standards., and a current-year datestamp applied.

However, ratings given prior to 1 January 2018 are not applicable to the new scheme.