The Jeep Wrangler's "poor" one-star ANCAP rating has been improved to a "marginal" three-star rating for 2020 with the addition of active safety technology – but the structural shortcomings that prevented it from getting a five-star rating remain.
The off-roader will be fitted standard with autonomous emergency braking – which automatically brakes if it detects an imminent rear-end accident – and blind-spot monitoring for 2020 in Australia, boosting its scores in the safety assist and adult occupant protection test categories.
But the car's passenger compartment "did not retain its structural integrity in the frontal offset test" in testing, and its bonnet provided "poor or adequate protection to the head of a struck pedestrian over most of its surface".
"Consumers should be aware that the a-pillar and cross-fascia beam failure, footwell intrusion, high seatbelt loads and excessive pedal movement have not been addressed and remain a risk for occupants" said James Goodwin, chief executive of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety body.
ANCAP also noted the 2020 Jeep Wrangler's AEB system still lacked pedestrian and cyclist detection.
The Wrangler shares its three-star rating with the Suzuki Jimny. However, countless other capable off-roaders have five-star ratings, including the single-cab version of the Toyota 70 Series.
The only category where the Wrangler is considered a five-star car is in child occupant protection, where it scored 80 per cent.
When the original one-star ANCAP result was revealed in May, Mr Goodwin said the Wrangler's structural performance was "very poor".
"For a new model to have an unstable passenger cell, where the dummy has made contact with the A-pillar, with the dashboard… [it's poor]," he said.
"One of the other things we’re seeing here is that the footwell ruptured, comparing it to the previous model we were not seeing any of those sort of structural problems occurring."
"It’s unfortunate that the vehicle hasn't improved in a generation and I think the other concerning thing is we’ve had the brand tell Australian consumers they were going to make improvements and it was going to be better than the European model tested last year, and we haven't seen any evidence at all."