Jeep’s Gladiator pick-up has been awarded just three stars by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), but the result is a carryover from the mechanically related left-hand-drive diesel Wrangler tested from last year.
How can ANCAP apply a crash-test result to a completely different model? Where it can, the car safety body will utilise existing data to compile its ratings, and with the Wrangler and Gladiator “sharing the same core structural underpinnings, engine configuration and restraint package”, it has deemed the three-star rating applicable to both vehicles.
However, it is worth noting that the Wrangler tested was powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, which is no longer available to the 2021 SUV and was never made available in the Australian Gladiator ute.
Instead, the two share a 3.6-litre petrol V6 engine that has not been examined.
It is also worth noting that the Wrangler was originally awarded just a one-star rating in December 2018, before being revised to a three-star score a year later when autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and blind-spot monitoring became standard equipment.
Regardless, the Jeep Gladiator has been awarded a 60 and 80 per cent score for the adult occupant and child occupant protection tests respectively, with particular concern for passenger chest protection in front and full-width examinations.
The vulnerable road user protection test yielded a 49 per cent result due to ‘poor’ and ‘adequate’ protection of pedestrian heads if struck by the bonnet, while the AEB system is not calibrated to detect cyclists or people on foot.
The safety assist category produced a similar 51 per cent result with notable equipment emissions including lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, rear seat belt pretensioners, automatic highbeams and driver attention alert.
Standard safety systems do include AEB with forward collision warning (applicable to speeds between 30-130km/h), a manually set speed limiter, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and tyre pressure monitoring system.
ANCAP communications boss Rhianne Robson condemned the Jeep Gladiator for offering so little in the way of safety, given its starting price of $75,450 before on-road costs.
“Consumers have come to expect a high level of safety regardless of price-point and market segment,” she said.
“Safety should remain a priority in all vehicle purchases, and this is no different for a vehicle of this type – particularly at this price point.”
The Isuzu D-Max has recently set the new benchmark for ute safety in Australia with a maximum five-star rating on tougher 2020 test standards, with the Mazda BT-50 sister car also expected to follow suit.
Other pick-ups with five-star ratings include the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, LDV T60, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton – though all were tested on older standards.