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Fiat stars fall short

Freemont is only a four star affair, according to ANCAP

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has knocked a star off an imported seven-seater.

The Fiat Freemont -- based on the Dodge Journey under parent company Chrysler's involvement with Fiat -- ranked five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2011.

But ANCAP has awarded only four stars, based on the 2011 results, because it says the score parameters have changed.

ANCAP spokeswoman Rhianne Robson says the Freemont fell short of achieving the minimum 12.5 points in the frontal offset test to be eligible for a five-star ANCAP rating.

“The weightings for the various tests differ slightly under the Euro NCAP system. Hence when (tested) by Euro NCAP in 2011, the Freemont rated five stars,” she says.

“It is our understanding that if the Freemont were to be tested against the 2013 Euro NCAP protocols it would not achieve a five-star rating because of its relatively low pedestrian test score.”

Fiat Chrysler Group corporate affairs director Karla Leach says the maker stands by its vehicle's safety performance and will discuss the results with ANCAP.

The Freemont has dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, integrated child booster seats, tyre pressure monitoring and stability control among its safety features.

ANCAP says the Freemont tested by Euro NCAP had an “active” bonnet feature not fitted to the Australasian model” so lower head impact scores can be expected. This does not affect the overall safety rating,” ANCAP chief Nicholas Clarke criticises absence of such features in different markets.

“We need to see the same maximum level of vehicle safety technologies offered in all countries,” he says.

“We're all equal, we should save lives equally -- here, in Europe, in America, in Asia, right across the world.”

The Holden Malibu, also tested by Euro NCAP as a Chevrolet, goes on sale here next month sporting a five-star ANCAP rating.

Clarke says the Malibu performed well in all tests, providing good protection for the majority of impacts for both the driver and passenger.

Holden vehicle structure and safety integration manager Steve Curtis says five stars are important for new car buyers and the Malibu was designed to achieve the “highest level of real-world safety.”